US Congressional leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate have threatened to open an investigation into, and subpoena transcripts of US President Donald Trump’s July phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which he ostensibly asked Zelensky to open a probe into former US Vice President Joe Biden.
Three committees in the Democrat-controlled House threatened subpoenas of relevant documents on Monday, and Sen. Chuck Schumer, the lead Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, called on colleague Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to join him in issuing a subpoena for the documents.
The chairs of the House committees on Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight notified US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a Monday letter requesting relevant documents be turned over voluntarily, giving Pompeo a deadline of Thursday evening to tell the congress members “whether you intend to fully comply or whether subpoenas will be necessary.”
Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky sits at the intersection of two different Washington scandals, which converged on Friday when twin reports by the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal revealed them to be about the same thing, Sputnik reported.
In the call, Trump reportedly asked Zelenskyy to open an investigation into Joe Biden for allegedly covering up a Kiev investigation into his son, Hunter Biden, by pressuring Kiev to fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in 2016. Hunter sat on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Cyprus-based natural gas firm operating in the Ukrainian gas sector, which was being probed for corruption; Shokin’s timely termination, helped along by then-VP Joe Biden’s threatening to withhold “another billion dollar loan guarantee” to Kiev.
Biden is now a leading contender among Democratic candidates for the party’s presidential nomination, the recipient of which would run against Trump in the November 2020 election.
This phone call was also revealed to be the subject of an August whistleblower report that was hushed up by the Trump administration, who refused to allow Congress to view the report.
On Monday, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph MacGuire and Michael Atkinson, head of the Office of Intelligence Community Inspector General, announced they would brief the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee later this week on the whistleblower situation.
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent.
He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Giuliani has suggested Mr. Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fight corruption had to do with an investigation of a gas company for which his son was a director. A Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son, Hunter Biden.
*Source: Sputnik news