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Trump Denies Asking about Investigations on Call

from Associated Press reports
Updated: November 13, 2019 04:39 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is denying he asked a U.S. ambassador about “investigations” in Ukraine a day after his call with that country’s president.

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The existence of the call was revealed Wednesday by William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. He testified that one of his staffers overheard Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, speaking on the phone with Trump on July 26.

Sondland used his cellphone to call Trump, and the staff member could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.”

Trump is denying knowledge of the call, saying, "I know nothing about that.” He adds, “First time I've heard it."

An official familiar with the matter said the staffer Taylor referred to is David Holmes, the political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv. Holmes is invited to testify before Congress on Friday.

President seeks to ID whistleblower

President Trump says he wants to find out who is the whistleblower whose complaint about his July phone call with Ukraine’s president spurred the impeachment inquiry.

Trump made his comments during a White House news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He said he did not watch the first day of public hearings of the impeachment inquiry.

Trump said, “I hear it’s a joke. I haven’t watched for one minute because I’ve been with the president” of Turkey.

He reiterated his claim that the whistleblower complaint was “much different” from the facts of his call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The whistleblower expressed alarm that Trump attempted to pressure Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son while holding up U.S. military aid.

Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters he's been "too busy" to watch the hearing but said he would get a report from his staff.

Trump criticized the use of staff lawyers to question witnesses. He’s dismissing Daniel Goldman, the investigations chief for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and Steve Castor, the chief investigative counsel for Republicans, as “television lawyers.”

William Taylor and George Kent testified Wednesday in the first public hearing of the House impeachment inquiry.

Investigators are examining whether Trump abused the power of his presidency by pressing Ukraine's leader to investigate his political rivals. Trump denies wrongdoing and has described the conversation as “perfect.”

In a new video directed at his supporters and released by the White House, Trump is calling the hearings the “single greatest scam in the history of American politics.”

Trump says in the video filmed in the White House Rose Garden that Democrats want to take away his viewers’ guns, health care, freedom and votes.

He adds that, “They're trying to stop me because I'm fighting for you. And I'll never let that happen."

Trump has spent the morning responding to the hearing on Twitter. He will be holding a press conference alongside his Turkish counterpart later in the day.

Meanwhile, Trump’s reelection campaign is trying to turn public impeachment hearings into a fundraising boon.

The campaign has emailed and texted supporters urging them to give.

And they’re setting a fundraising goal of $3 million over the next 24 hours.

Trump and his campaign have been trying to turn the inquiry into a rallying cry for supporters by making the case that it is an attempt by Democrats to invalidate the results of the 2016 election and harm Trump’s chances in 2020.

They’re calling the hearings “fake” and a “TOTAL SCAM.”

One email reads that, “It’s time to make a statement” and “do something so EPIC that even the FAKE NEWS media won’t be able to ignore us while these baseless Witch Hunt Trials go on.”

Credits

from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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