Donald Trump denies pressuring his Ukrainian counterpart, whom he met on Wednesday (September 25th), to investigate his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.
“No pressure, nothing at all”: Donald Trump challenged Wednesday, September 25, 2019 any irregularity after the publication of the content of an exchange in which he asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his rival Democratic Joe Biden .
This exchange, “overwhelming” for the opposition, puts in difficulty the 45th American president, now threatened by an explosive dismissal procedure.
New developments in this case are to be expected Thursday with the hearing by the Congress of National Intelligence Director, Joseph Maguire, who had initially refused to send them the report at the origin of the scandal, written by a launcher alert member of the intelligence services.
This mysterious document, which all Washington is waiting for publication, was consulted Wednesday night by a small group of parliamentarians behind closed doors.
“It’s obvious that there are a lot of very troubling things in there,” Republican Senator Ben Sasse said on the way out. But his voice remained rather isolated in his camp. Among the Democrats, several elected officials considered this document “deeply troubling”.
Their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, called for its “immediate release.”
Promising “transparency” on this mysterious whistleblower who told his hierarchy of his concerns over the call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump, the latter said that the agent had not had access than “supposedly second-hand” information.
Visibly tired, almost dead, the Republican billionaire tried on Thursday to sweep the critics by posing as active president on all diplomatic fronts, while his opponents Democrats, according to him, fought in endless “witch hunts”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 25 September 2019
“A dismissal for that? It’s a joke! He said at a news conference in a New York hotel near UN headquarters.
“The Democrats did that during UN week, it was all planned …”, he said.
“If you could look into it”
The transcript of this exchange, which the White House eventually published, based on notes taken by US advisers, sheds a bright light on the asymmetrical relationship between Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky, a political novice elected in April at the head of a country very dependent on American aid.
After stressing that his country “has been very good to Ukraine” without being “necessarily reciprocal”, Donald Trump talks about Joe Biden, among the favourites of the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidential elections in 2020, and the business in Ukraine of his son Hunter.
He tells Volodymyr Zelensky:
“Many people want to know more about it, so it would be great if you could look into it”
Donald Trump proposes to his Ukrainian counterpart to work in cooperation with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and with US Attorney General Bill Barr, and said the two lawyers will get in touch with him soon.
In his exchange, Donald Trump does not show any concrete threat and does not propose a counterpart directly. But he invites the Ukrainian president to the White House immediately after listening to his response on Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump assured that this exchange was perfectly “harmless” and that he had exerted “no pressure” on Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It was a good phone conversation, normal,” said Volodymyr Zelensky at his first meeting with Donald Trump in New York. “No one put pressure on me,” he said.
Despite these denials, the Democrats found that the transcript “unambiguously reflected a shocking and damning abuse of the presidential office for personal political gain.”
“That’s how a mafia boss talks,” said one of their leaders, the representative Adam Schiff.
Some 400 days before the vote, Democrats on Tuesday launched the first stage of the solemn impeachment of the president, a rare and explosive procedure that is unlikely to lead to his dismissal but casts a shadow on his re-election campaign.
They suspect he has frozen aid of nearly $ 400 million to Kiev to force the Ukrainian president to help him. In the telephone conversation between the two men, Donald Trump does not mention this help.
Given the Democratic majority in the House, Donald Trump is likely to be charged (an “impeachment”), which only happened to two of his predecessors. The NBC News channel estimated Wednesday night that 218 members out of 435 in the House (the majority needed) supported this option.
But the Senate, where the Republicans are in the majority, will then instruct the “trial” of the president and return his verdict to a two-thirds majority.
For the New York billionaire to be deposed, Democrats should convince 20 Republican senators, which seems highly unlikely at this stage.