Impeachment calls grow as Trump defends withholding Ukraine aid

Impeachment calls grow as Trump defends withholding Ukraine aid


WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Questions of impeachment
are growing tonight around President Trump.
The speaker of the House says the House is
moving forward with an official impeachment
inquiry.
That’s after a whistle-blower alleged that
the president tried to force a foreign leader
to aid his reelection.
In turn, the president says he will release
the record of a critical phone call.
Congressional correspondent Lisa Desjardins
begins our coverage.
LISA DESJARDINS: A dizzying day of developments.
At the Capitol late this afternoon, Speaker
of the House Nancy Pelosi went further than
ever on formally beginning impeachment.
REP.
NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The actions of the Trump
presidency revealed the dishonorable fact
of the president’s betrayal of his oath of
office, betrayal of our national security,
and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.
Therefore, today, I’m announcing the House
of Representatives moving forward with an
official impeachment inquiry.
LISA DESJARDINS: Meanwhile, at the United
Nations, the president arrived this morning
to talk about U.S. policy, but immediately
faced questions about his own actions and
whether he pressured Ukraine to investigate
the Biden family.
DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I think it’s ridiculous.
It’s a witch-hunt.
LISA DESJARDINS: He seemed to confirm and
defend the fact that he withheld hundreds
of millions of dollars in aid for Ukraine
recently.
DONALD TRUMP: My complaint has always been
— and I would withhold again, and I’ll continue
to withhold until such time as Europe and
other nations contribute to Ukraine, because
they’re not doing it.
LISA DESJARDINS: The Washington Post and others
reported the president froze nearly $400 million
in aid for Ukraine this summer, one week before
a phone call with newly elected Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelensky.
It is still not clear if the withheld money
came up on that call, but, this afternoon,
Mr. Trump announced he has ordered the release,
tomorrow, of the complete and unredacted transcript
of his conversation.
In turn, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff
said the whistle-blower wants to testify before
the committee as early as this week.
Meanwhile, calls for impeachment grew.
REP.
JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I have been patient while
we tried every other path and used every other
tool.
I believe, I truly believe the time to begin
impeachment proceedings against this president
has come.
LISA DESJARDINS: It was a remarkable 24 hours
for Democrats, starting with a cannon blast
in The Washington Post from seven freshman
Democrats, all with military and national
security backgrounds.
All sit in vulnerable districts and had previously
been hesitant to call for impeachment.
Now they write: “If the allegations are true,
we believe these actions represent an impeachable
offense.
We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly.”
On the campaign trail in Delaware today, former
Vice President Joe Biden pushed back against
any allegations of wrongdoing.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), Presidential Candidate:
This president would attack me and anyone
else who he thought would be a threat to his
winning again.
Well, that’s what he does.
That’s what he’s always done.
And know that, even though every reputable
publication that has looked at the charge
that has been made against me, and they found
them baseless and untrue and without merit,
that’s not about to stop him.
LISA DESJARDINS: Republicans, meanwhile, are
largely urging restraint.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
SEN.
MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): What we have here
is an allegation related to Ukrainian aid
by a whistle-blower.
That’s about all we know now.
I’m not going to address all of these various
hypotheticals that have been aired out about
what may or may not have happen in the House.
And I think all of that is quite premature.
LISA DESJARDINS: But even within the president’s
own party, concern is brewing.
Louisiana Senator John Kennedy said both the
Bidens and the president’s phone calls should
be investigated.
SEN.
JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): I can tell you that — what
the American people are saying.
They’re saying, you know what?
We’d like to know more about the conversation
between the president and President Zelensky.
But we’d also like to know what this business
about Hunter Biden is.
LISA DESJARDINS: President Trump meets with
the Ukrainian president tomorrow, as House
Democrats press forward with an impeachment
resolution.

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