Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trump’s ex-Russia adviser testifies at House impeachment inquiry




Trump’s ex-Russia adviser testifies at House impeachment inquiry

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Fiona Hill (centre), former senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council, walks out of the Capitol Building after a closed door hearing in Washington, DC on Tuesday. MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES/AFP

Trump’s ex-Russia adviser testifies at House impeachment inquiry

US lawmakers returning from a two-week break braced for an impeachment brawl in Washington, as a former White House aide testified before Congress on Monday in the latest twist in the investigation of US President Donald Trump.

US Republicans, already at odds with Trump over his withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, face questions about the embattled president’s efforts to pressure his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his Democratic rivals.

Congress returns to work on Tuesday with what Republican Senator Chuck Grassley called an “impeachment cloud” over Washington.

Trump has pushed back, with no fewer than 10 tweets on Monday against US Democrats and their investigation.

In one he demanded that a whistleblower whose warning about the US president’s call with Ukraine triggered the impeachment inquiry be identified and testify before Congress.

As he menaced the person who exposed his possible wrongdoing, Trump faced a potential setback with his former top Russia adviser, Fiona Hill, sitting for an hours-long closed-door deposition before US lawmakers.

Hill served in the National Security Council but left the administration shortly before Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democrats expect her to share her concerns about Trump’s involvement in the Ukraine scandal, including his ouster of the US ambassador to Kiev Marie Yovanovitch, who testified to Congress last week.

With the impeachment inquiry charging ahead, Trump’s re-election team launched a fierce broadside at the investigators.

“Democrats have crossed over the line of partisan politics and have undertaken a seditious conspiracy to overthrow the people’s president,” Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said.

Trump himself lashed out at House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff after the Democrat suggested the whistleblower may not testify out of safety concerns.

Trump has repeatedly pushed for the unmasking of the author of a complaint that said the president may have abused his power on the call by urging Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political rival Joe Biden.

Whistleblowers are protected by US law, and revealing their identity is a crime.

“Adam Schiff now doesn’t seem to want the Whistleblower to testify. NO! Must testify to explain why he got my Ukraine conversation sooo wrong,

“We must determine the Whistleblower’s identity to determine WHY this was done to the USA,” Trump tweeted.

The White House’s call memo shows Trump sought a “favour” from Zelensky. Democrats say it was a demand to investigate Biden – the president’s potential main 2020 election rival – and a Ukrainian firm that hired Biden’s son Hunter.

Hill meanwhile appeared before congressional investigators despite the White House declaration last week that it would not cooperate with the probe.

Her lawyer Lee Wolosky said Hill had “received a congressional subpoena” to testify, suggesting top Democrats had feared the White House might seek the 11th-hour block to her testimony, as they did with previous witnesses.

House Democrat Jamie Raskin said he believes Hill could shed light on what he described as “a very powerful shadow foreign policy being operated out of Ukraine by the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani” that bypassed normal channels to apply coercive pressure on Kiev.

“I think that she would have a comprehensive overview of that whole situation,” Raskin told MSNBC.

Raskin said testimony from various witnesses also appears to confirm a “deliberate, premeditated strategy by the president” to condition some $390 million in military assistance to Ukraine on that country investigating the Bidens.

Testifying on Thursday will be US Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who shortly before Trump’s Ukraine call participated in several text messages with other US diplomats who expressed concern that Trump was seeking a quid pro quo for the military aid.

According to the Washington Post, Sondland intends to tell Congress that his text to a fellow diplomat denying such a trade-off was relayed directly to him by Trump.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.