From A Ukraine Phone Call To Calls For Impeachment

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., reads a statement announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

You can find a buildout from this hour, featuring a partial transcription, here.

With Anthony Brooks

Ukraine phone call firestorm. Is this the tipping point for Trump? What we know about the brewing controversy, and what we don’t.


Lisa Desjardins, correspondent for PBS NewsHour. (@LisaDNews)

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Democratic congresswoman representing Pennsylvania's 6th Congressional District. She's one of seven moderates on a joint opinion article in the Washington Post that says the allegations against President Trump, if true, represent an impeachable offense. (@RepHoulahan)

Jonathan Landay, national security correspondent for Reuters. (@JonathanLanday)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "Why an Impeachment Inquiry Now? Democrats Cite the Clarity of the Case" — "For months, dozens of House Democrats anxiously avoided even the mention of impeaching President Trump — right up until the moment that they demanded it.

"The sudden embrace of an impeachment inquiry by previously reluctant House Democrats — most notably Speaker Nancy Pelosi — is attributable to one fundamental fact: They believe the new accusations against Mr. Trump are simple and serious enough to be grasped by a public overwhelmed by the constant din of complex charges and countercharges that has become the norm in today’s Washington.

"In contrast to the murkiness of the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump, Democrats see the current allegations as damningly clear-cut. His refusal so far to provide Congress with an intelligence official’s whistle-blower complaint as required by law, coupled with the possibility that Mr. Trump dangled American military aid as a bargaining chip to win investigation of a political rival by a foreign government, strikes them as a stark case of presidential wrongdoing. They consider it egregious enough that they expect many Americans who had been cool to the idea of moving to oust the president to recognize the imperative for the House to act."

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Pa. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan says Trump-Ukraine allegations, if true, are an impeachable offense" — "U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan on Monday said that if President Donald Trump used foreign aid as leverage to coerce Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden, she would consider that an impeachable offense.

"Unlike many House Democrats, Houlahan, a freshman representative from Chester County, has resisted calls from the left to initiate impeachment proceedings in the aftermath of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign cooperated in that.

"But in a sign that the politics around impeachment may be shifting, Houlahan on Monday wrote a joint opinion article in the Washington Post with other moderate Democrats saying that the latest allegations against Trump were 'stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent.' "

Wall Street Journal: "Trump Put Hold on Military Aid Ahead of Phone Call With Ukraine’s President" — "President Trump asked his acting chief of staff to place a hold on $391 million in aid to Ukraine more than a week before a July phone call in which he urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Joe Biden ’s son, according to a person familiar with the matter, a revelation that comes as an investigation into the president’s dealings with Kiev is mushrooming on Capitol Hill.

"Congress had approved sending military aid to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian aggression. But Mr. Trump and his advisers, including then-national security adviser John Bolton and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, began discussing in June the prospect of putting a hold on the funds while the administration reviewed them, a senior administration official said.

"In July, Mr. Trump directed acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to do just that, and the decision was passed along to lower-level officials during a July 18 meeting, according to the official. The Washington Post first reported the news of the president’s directive to Mr. Mulvaney."

Associated Press: "Trump says transcript of Ukraine conversation to be released" — "President Donald Trump says he has directed the release on Wednesday of the 'unredacted' transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

"Trump has acknowledged that he discussed former Vice President Joe Biden in the call.

"Trump tweets Tuesday that 'You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call. No pressure.'

"Trump’s reference to Biden on the call raised questions about whether the president improperly used his office to pressure another country as a way of hurting one of his chief Democratic rivals.

"On Monday, it was reported that Trump had ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before a phone call with Zelenskiy."

Grace Tatter produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on September 25, 2019.



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