Bob Menendez Calls for State Dept. IG Probe on Ukraine

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The intelligence community whistleblower said it was part of a broader effort by the president and his lawyers to solicit a foreign country to dig up dirt on a political rival for president in 2020.

The committee leaders made the text messages public late on Thursday, along with a copy of a letter to other members of the House expressing "grave concern" about what they described as Mr Trump's actions and accusing him of a campaign of misdirection in relation to the impeachment inquiry.

"I haven't but clearly it's something we should start thinking about", he said when asked whether he'd raised the matter with China's Xi Jinping.

President Donald Trump personally ordered the removal of the US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, in May, because he was told she privately harbored an "anti-Trump bias." .

"Hey, Mitt, Trump is just blurting it out there now-he wants Ukraine and China to investigate Biden", tweeted Heer.

"For engaging in an organized effort that exceeded their limited powers, under the Constitution, and for trampling on the constitutional rights of citizens by engaging in several illicit plans, carried out by illegal means, to remove the President of the US, on knowingly falsified charges allegations".

"I think it's insane to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign", Mr Taylor said in another text.

More news: Donald Trump and Scott Morrison phone call drags Australia into impeachment battle

A former State Department official said last week that "the fact that agents of the President, whether they be his son or Giuliani, should somehow be dragged into this mess on behalf of people who are unworthy and dubious at best is really distressing".

Mr. Trump is seeking to call attention to Hunter Biden's business involvement with foreign partners who were probably hoping to trade on his family name. The agency polices campaign finance laws. Trump has contended that his political life actually has cost him money, though he is the first major presidential candidate in modern history to refuse to release tax returns that would provide more detail. He later claimed in written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller that he made the appeal to Russian Federation "in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer". One can disapprove of what Trump is doing - less so in the case of today's comments about China, which certainly isn't going to take its cues from Trump - without believing that it's an impeachable offense. He had ducked the question at a news conference on Wednesday.

Mr Zelenskiy has tried to distance himself from the impeachment process, again denying on Tuesday that Mr Trump pressured him by withholding military aid.

Trump has sought to implicate Biden and his son in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine.

The Hill's John Solomon reported that Shokin, at the time, "was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden's younger son, Hunter, as a board member".

Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told The Journal that Trump "remembered he had a problem" with Yovanovitch when Giuliani mentioned her earlier this year.

Kurt Volker was little known outside of foreign policy circles as the special USA envoy to Ukraine until last week, when the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump recast the once obscure diplomat as a central figure in the unfolding impeachment inquiry.

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