More details about the Ukrainian ‘situation,’ which it looks like the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, Judicial Committees were already investigating…
The fact that the whistleblower’s supposed report has to do with this very issue, means it has been top of mind for many Congressional members. Confounding.
Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky was fulsome in expressing his gratitude to Donald Trump for the military aid package.
The former professional comedian insisted his relationship with the former reality TV star was “very good” and that he was “sure we will have a meeting in the White House”.
But the $250m (£280m) of arms for Ukrainian forces, which are confronting Russian backed separatists, has been enmeshed in a bitter battle between the US president and his opponents over accusations that he has tried to manipulate it for underhand political reasons.
The Trump administration had in fact suspended the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, only agreeing to unblock it after rising bipartisan clamour from congress.
The ostensible reason for the hold-up was to ensure that it tallied with US interests.
The real reason, claim critics, was to pressure the Ukrainian government to target Joe Biden – the possible Democrat candidate for next year’s election – through an investigation into corruption allegations against his son.
Members of the Trump administration have claimed that Mr Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to drop an investigation into Burisma, an energy company operating in the country, on which his son Hunter was a board member.
The claims against Mr Biden have been denied to a number of news organisations, including The Independent , by Ukrainian and western European officials.
Three Democrat-controlled house committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Government Reform – have announced that they would investigate whether a host of ethical and legal rules have been violated.
But the president stressed he was delighted with the decision to release the package, and also with reports that the State Department was putting together a separate aid package worth $140m.
“Now we can say we have very good relations with the US because now we will get not only $250m but [an additional] $140m. When you are waiting for $250m have the possibility to get $390m, I like this sort of relationship,” said Mr Zelensky, adding that he hoped to meet the US president soon.
But there have been claims that Mr Trump had refused to meet Mr Zelensky after his election this year, and that US officials have warned this would continue to be the case unless the Ukrainian authorities reopened the Burisma files.
The house committees’ chairs say they will scrutinise a telephone call between the US president and Mr Zelensky on 25 July, during which Mr Trump allegedly told the Ukrainian president to reopen the Biden investigation if he wanted to improve relations with the US.
They claim that Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, was told to intercede with President Zelensky by the White House, and they are looking into the activities of Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s personal lawyer.
Alot of coverage on this for the week of Sept 8th