The process of impeachment open against Donald Trump this week began its public phase, with testimonies broadcast live, but also continues its development behind closed doors, with a handful of legislators as witnesses. This Saturday, in a private session, an official of the White House Budget Office, Mark Sandy, complicated the life of the president by calling the decision of freezing funds approved for Ukraine last summer very irregular, according to sources present in the statement cited by The Washington Post. Congress is investigating whether Trump pressured Kiev to harm his political rival Joe Biden – investigating an investigation against him and his son – and if, among other measures, he used the delivery of such aid as a currency.
Sandy's statement, deputy director for national security programs of the budget office, does not link the freezing of these funds of nearly $ 400 million to the investigation that Trump claimed about Biden, an election candidate for 2020, but stresses that no It is a usual operation. The official has also indicated that no superior of his department was able to give any explanation as to why he decided to leave on hold.
The House of Representatives, of democratic majority, opened the public process against Trump on September 24, when they transcended the maneuvers of the president so that the Ukrainian justice investigated Biden and his son, Hunter, who had been paid for a gas company while his father was vice president. The smoking gun of the case was the conversation between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodimir Zelensky, on July 25, in which the American explicitly asks him to get to the bottom of the matter and offers help from his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the US attorney general, William Barr.
The Democrats believe that the president abused his presidential power and tried to bribe a foreign government to harm an adversary electorally, which could constitute a serious crime and, therefore, grounds for his removal. The US president, however, defends the validity of that conversation and his legitimate interest in fighting corruption, ensuring that there was crux pro quo with the mentioned help or with a possible invitation to the White House.
Last Wednesday, in a public statement at the Capitol, diplomat William Taylor, current interim ambassador to Ukraine, did link the freezing of aid to Ukraine with pressures to justice in the country to launch the investigations. He referred to what Tim Morrison had told him, an advisor to the National Security Council, who resigned last October. Last September, Morrison told him that another American diplomat, Gordon Sondland, warned a Ukrainian government adviser, Andrei Yermak, that security aids would not come until Zelensky publicly committed himself to the investigation of the son of Biden
Along the same lines, an official from the US embassy in Kiev, David Holmes, confirmed on Friday another call cited by Taylor. Holmes testified behind closed doors that he had been present in a telephone conversation that Gordon Sondland had with Donald Trump, who could be heard loudly on the other side of the cell phone, asking if Ukraine had committed to the investigation. Sondland, according to Holmes, came to answer that Zelensky "loved" his "butt" and would do what he asked. The diplomat will declare in public this Wednesday.