Pompeo acknowledges he was on Trump call at center of impeachment probe

Any attempt by the White House to hide information related to Trump's attempt to "coerce" Zelensky to find dirt on Biden "will be strengthening" the Democrats' case on obstruction of justice, Schiff argued.

The whistleblower's report was based on information from "multiple" USA government officials.

Pelosi, who announced last week the House was conducting an "official" impeachment inquiry into Trump, opened the press conference by talking about legislation Democrats are crafting to address prescription drug prices. He said US policy toward the country has consistently been "about helping Ukrainians to get graft and corruption outside of their government and to help now this new government in Ukraine build a successful and thriving economy".

Schiff, who is leading one of the committees investigating Trump in the impeachment inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been under fire from conservatives for the "parody" of the president's call with Zelensky that he read at the testimony last week of Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.

Scrutiny of Pompeo's role in the administration's interactions with Ukraine, including the recall of the USA ambassador to Kiev earlier this year, rose after the Wall Street Journal first reported that the top us diplomat had listened in on the Trump-Zelenskiy call.

She said she hoped Trump would want to work on that despite the White House threatening to shut down the legislative process because of the impeachment inquiry.

The White House the next day released a partial transcript of the call with Zelenskiy showing that exchange, which is now the focus of Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

But they are anxious about one thing: that Ukraine's role in the Trump affair strengthens Russia's hand, and hobbles the politically inexperienced Zelenskiy just as he's trying to tackle the problems that matter to them most: corruption and an armed conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the east that has divided their nation.

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Pompeo said State Department employees had been contacted directly by lawmakers or their staff and told not to talk to the State Department's legal counsel.

Later speaking to reporters in the Oval Office alongside Finland's visiting president, Trump managed to partially censor himself in making a crude reference to Schiff, one of his top congressional rivals. He said, however, that he would cooperate with Congress.

Trump on Wednesday called Biden and his son Hunter "stone-cold crooked".

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he saw no evidence of pressure in Trump's July conversation with Zelenskiy and added that there was nothing wrong with the USA president asking for an investigation into potential corruption.

He then taunted the Democratic Party: "Get a better candidate this time, you'll need it!"

Yovanovitch, the career diplomat whose abrupt recall from Ukraine earlier this year raised questions, is set to appear next week.

The impeachment probe could lead to approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against Trump in the House.

Trump has long measured allies' loyalty by their willingness to fight for him on TV, and he complained bitterly this week that few had done so. The president's fellow Republicans control the Senate and have shown little appetite for removing him.

  • Sonia Alvarado