A former U.S. Attorney says Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has delivered “smoking gun” evidence of a quid pro quo arrangement between President Donald Trump and Ukraine.
The National Security Council staffer told a House impeachment inquiry that he was aware of — and alarmed by — efforts as early as March to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, which he believed were conducted to deliver a political benefit the president.
The counsel for House Democrats then showed a text sent 30 minutes before Trump’s July 25 call to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, which shows the special envoy Kurt Volker dangling a White House visit to a Zelensky aide in exchange for an investigation.
“Good lunch — thanks. Heard from White House — assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington. Good luck! See you tomorrow – kurt.”
Volker, who testifies today, sent this text to Zelensky aide 30 minutes before the July 25 call where Trump asks for a “favor.” This is a smoking gun so hot that it’s still on fire. https://t.co/Hkqk5SE419
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) November 19, 2019
Joyce Vance, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, said that evidence was extremely damning in the impeachment inquiry.
Vindman had testified that Zelensky appeared to be prepared for Trump’s request on the July 25 call, which he listened in on, and the NSC staffer agreed that text may have helped.
“Volker, who testifies today, sent this text to Zelensky aide 30 minutes before the July 25 call where Trump asks for a ‘favor,’” Vance tweeted. “This is a smoking gun so hot that it’s still on fire.”
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Listen: Schiff Charges Trump May Have Committed ‘Bribery’ Along With ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors’
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff is charging that President Donald Trump clearly may have committed “bribery” along with “high crimes and misdemeanors,” both of which are outlined in the U.S. Constitution as impeachable offenses. Chairman Schiff made the allegations less than one day before the start of public witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry that will be televised live across the nation.
“Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader,” Schiff told NPR Tuesday afternoon (audio below). “It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.”
Schiff says it will have to be proven that Trump was “soliciting something of value,” when he engaged in what is now widely seen as a months-long campaign of extortion of Ukraine. Trump held up $400 million of congressionally-approved military aid while extorting the President of Ukraine to manufacture false evidence against Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, to help tTrump win re-election in 2020.
“The basic allegations against the president are that he sought foreign interference in a U.S. election, that he conditioned official acts on the performance of these political favors,” Schiff said. “And those official acts include a White House meeting that the president of Ukraine desperately sought with President Trump, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded military assistance for a country that is at war with Russia and a country that the United States has a deep national security interest in making sure it can defend itself.”
Wednesday’s hearing will be televised live on the major broadcast networks and the major cable news channels, starting at 10 AM ET.
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