Oct 3, 2019

Schiff slams Trump's call for China to investigate Bidens as "repugnant"

Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that President Trump's call for China to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden is "repugnant" and "ought to be condemned by every member" of Congress.

"A president of the United States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again to help his campaign by investigating a rival is a fundamental breach of the presidential oath."

Why it matters: Schiff has been tasked with leading the impeachment investigation into Trump's alleged efforts to push the government of Ukraine to investigate Biden. As that investigation heats up, Trump on Thursday appeared to again call for a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 election — this time in public.

The big picture: Schiff spoke to reporters outside an ongoing deposition with former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who resigned last week after being named in the whistleblower complaint.

  • Volker is expected to testify that he did not know that military aid to Ukraine had been frozen at the time of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but that he was aware of Rudy Giuliani's interest in having Ukraine investigate Biden, per the New York Times.
  • Volker reportedly told Giuliani that he believed allegations about the Bidens were baseless and has told colleagues he was not involved in the pressure campaign.
  • The whistleblower complaint notes that after the July phone call, Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland met with Ukrainian officials and provided them with advice on how to "navigate" Trump's demands.

Go deeper: Trump impeachment threat engulfs all corners of federal government

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NYT: U.S. envoys drafted statement committing Ukraine president to Biden probe

President Trump on Oct. 3 in The Villages, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland drafted a statement in August committing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigating the Ukrainian energy company for which Hunter Biden previously served on the board, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The statement, which also included a commitment to investigate Ukraine's alleged role in interfering in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton, appears to be documentary evidence of high-level diplomats shaping foreign policy to the tune of President Trump's political agenda, per the Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019

Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House's impeachment inquiry has been driven forward by new disclosures of what exactly President Trump wanted the government of Ukraine to do — revealed in 3 key documents, but nonetheless distorted and disputed along the way.

We've gathered the key players, events and disclosures of the Trump-Ukraine saga in one place to clear up what's happened so far and examine where we go from here.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Trump administration directs EU ambassador not to appear for House deposition

United States Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Photo by Daniel Mihailscu/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration directed the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland not to appear for a scheduled deposition with House Democrats on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Democrats want to question Sondland about his role in President Trump's pressure campaign on Ukraine to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter.

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019