Ukraine reviews cases on owner of firm that hired Biden son

Saturday, 05 Oct, 2019

Zelenskiy and Ryaboshapka denied being under any foreign pressure over corruption investigations, although text messages released Thursday in the US showed American diplomats pushing for an investigation of Biden's son.

Yermak, in turn, appeared reluctant to commit without first securing a date for a White House visit.

In releasing the exchanges Thursday, the Democratic committee chairmen said they are "still only a subset of the full body of the materials" provided by Volker, which they hope to make public later.

The rapidity of this and other disclosures is particularly ominous for the White House.

The subpoena followed a broad demand earlier Friday for documents from Vice President Mike Pence.

The whistleblower also said there were "more than a dozen" people on the phone call between Trump and Zelensky on July 25, during which Trump explicitly requested the investigations after suggestively noting how good the United States had been to Ukraine.

Ahead of the July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, the text messages show how Giuliani was pushing for the call and for Zelensky to talk up the investigation.

A Republican senator said Friday he learned from a US ambassador that President Donald Trump was tying military aid for Ukraine to an investigation of the 2016 election.

After a more than four-hour pause, Sondland texted Taylor that he was incorrect, and wrote that Trump "has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind".

"I don't care about Biden's campaign but I care about corruption", he told reporters. But when the senator asked Trump if he could assure the Ukraine leadership the money would be coming, the president blocked him from carrying that message.

It's curious how the same treatment was not given a few months ago to the anti-Trump text messages of Federal Bureau of Investigation employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, when the entire media establishment twisted itself into pretzels to explain that when Strzok said "we'll stop" Trump from becoming president what he really meant, you see, was something totally innocuous and not sinister at all. "I think potus really wants the deliverable", Sondland said.

President Trump asserted late Thursday he has an "absolute right" to have corruption investigated, even it means asking for help from other nations.

Mr. Trump alleges Hunter Biden traded on his father's position to foster business ties in Ukraine and elsewhere around the globe.

"I think it's insane to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign", Taylor wrote to the US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.

"I did so exclusively because I understood that the new Ukrainian leadership wanted to convince those, like Mayor Giuliani, who believed such a negative narrative about Ukraine, that times have changed and that, under President Zelensky, Ukraine is worthy of US support", Volker said.

Trump was withholding military aid to Ukraine when he used a July phone call to ask its president to investigate Biden for corruption, an unfounded allegation.

The fact that neither Democrats and Republicans are raising that issue with Volker's testimony and the texts just goes to show that neither have a problem with the USA acting like an empire, and Ukraine being its vassal. The diplomats' actions were taken in concert and aided by Giuliani, who spent months contacting Ukrainian officials to get them to open the investigations. "Those facts can not be seriously contested", Schiff said. And it suggests there will be no shortage of leads in an investigation that increasingly holds promise for Democrats.

Ukraine's top prosecutor said Friday his office is reviewing several cases related to the owner of a gas company where the son of former Vice President Joe Biden sat on the board, but he added that he wasn't aware of any evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

But the saga at the center of it all was quietly unfolding in Washington, where two top diplomats catered to the president's interests in a foreign investigation into a political rival.