25 November 2019
US congressman Adam Schiff’s impeachment proceedings against President Trump is continuing in the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This Committee has majority Democrats and minority Republicans.
The House impeachment inquiry is based on allegations that Trump (in picture) sought Ukraine’s newly elected President Zelenskiy to investigate into Biden and his son Hunter in return for military aid and a visit to the White House.
Sondland, who was appointed to the ambassador role by President Donald Trump, testified that Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, urged Zelenskiy into pursuing an investigation into Biden. The Associated Press reported that Sondland also testified that he understood Trump was holding up almost $400 million in aid in return for Ukraine “announcing” the investigations, but conceded Trump never told him so directly. Sondland testified that there was a quid pro quo that linked aid to Ukraine with President Donald Trump’s desire for an investigation into his Democratic political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro speaking on her show Justice with Judge Jeanine claimed that Sondland was a “deep state bureaucrat.” Pirro claimed that everything Sondland said was contradicted by the facts. The aid was delivered. There was no meeting. No call, no announcement of an investigation. No quid pro quo. Newsweek reported.
Vice president, the elder Biden pushed for Ukraine to oust Shokin because the prosecutor was allegedly ignoring corruption in the country. Vice President Biden’s son sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, that was under investigation but had become dormant by the time the then-vice president pushed for Shokin’s ouster. Biden’s son received a monthly income $50,000 from Burisma. Burisma also paid Hunter Biden’s law firm a $300,000 retainer to handle legal affairs. In 2016 Biden shepherded a $50 million dollar payment to stimulate natural gas production in Ukraine. Did Burisma receive any of this US taxpayer money in return?
A recent Freedom of Information request by watchdog group American Oversight has produced 100 pages of State Department documents, including testimonies from former prosecutors Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko. These documents reveal additional details of the alleged corruption by Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine.
State Department documents also showed that Mykola Zlochevsky assembled an international team, led by Hunter Biden, to protect his embezzlement. The team included Devon Archer, CIA official Joseph Blade and former President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski. Documents showed Kwasniewski received nearly $1.2 million for his services. The amount received by Archer and Hunter Biden was reportedly concealed by Latvia.
Had Democrats started their inquiry with credible bipartisan support the public opinion would have developed in their favour and the public opinion would build pressure on Republican members towards an impeachment vote that had even stronger bipartisan credibility. But it did not happen that way.
Emerson polling showed support for impeachment flipped since October from 48 per cent support with 44 per cent opposing to now 45 per cent opposed and 43 per cent in support. Among key independents, the switch was even more pronounced. In October, 48 per cent supported impeaching Trump, with 39 per cent opposed. Now, 49 per cent of independents oppose impeachment, while only 34 per cent support it.