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Trump's Ukraine envoy quits as president rages on Twitter over whistleblower revelations

Kurt Volker previously served as Nato ambassador

Andy Gregory
New York
,Clark Mindock
Friday 27 September 2019 05:59
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Donald Trump cries 'witch hunt' after DNI whistleblower hearing

Donald Trump‘s envoy to Ukraine has reportedly resigned after being named in the whistleblower complaint that has rocked the administration.

Multiple media sources said Kurt Volker, the president’s special representative for Ukraine, resigned on Friday.

A whistleblower complaint from within the intelligence community, released publicly on Thursday, described Mr Volker as trying to “contain the damage” from efforts by Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to press Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

It said: “On 26 July, a day after the call, special representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker visited Kyiv and met with president Zelenskyy and a variety of Ukrainian political figures. Ambassador Volker was accompanied in his meetings by US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

“Based on multiple readouts of these meetings recounted to me by various US officials, ambassadors Volker and Sondland reportedly provided advice to the Ukrainian leadership about how to “navigate” the demands that the president had made of Mr Zelenskyy.”

Mr Volker, who had served in the position on a part-time, unpaid basis since 2017, had sought to help Ukraine’s government resolve its confrontation with Russia-sponsored separatists.

Meanwhile on Friday, Mr Trump unleashed a stream of furious outbursts over the whistbleblower revelations, just days after House speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry that some believe could yield results as soon as October.

Ms Pelosi joined others in voicing concern over the president’s hints that the whistleblower should be executed for exposing his or her attempt to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating a major rival in the 2020 election.

One of the whistleblower’s key complaints that the transcript of Mr Trump’s Ukrainian call was moved to a classified location by White House staff appears to have been vindicated by an insider, according to CNN. Mr Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is central to the allegations, has further implicated the state department in the scandal, presenting Fox News with text messages that he claims prove his meeting with an aide of Mr Zelensky was ordered by officials in Mike Pompeo’s department, not by Mr Trump.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of events in Washington.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 10:34
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Donald Trump has lashed out at staff who said the White House “locked down” details of his phone call with the Ukrainian president.

All the details here.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 11:17
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The first Republicans have come forward to publicly support the impeachment inquiry.

The governors of Vermont and Massachussets, Phil Scott and Charlie Baker respectively, have both been vocal critics of the Trump presidency.

Mr Scott said he wasn’t surprised by the whistleblower’s allegations because he’s “watched [Trump] over the years.

“I think the inquiry is important, yes, and where it leads from here is going to be driven by the facts that are established,” AP reported him as saying.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 12:01
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Donald Trump continues his offensive early this morning, claiming the "Fake News Media" and Democrats are working as a team to "fraudulently" make his phone call with Mr Zelensky look bad.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 12:37
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In Congress on Thursday, Californian Democrat Adam Schiff loosely paraphrased Mr Trump and Mr Zelesky's call, calling it "a betrayal of the president's oath of office".

Mr Trump has struck back.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 12:56
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Andy Gregory27 September 2019 13:00
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Mr Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani gave a bizarre interview with The Atlantic on Thursday morning, during which he proclaimed:

"It is impossible that the whistle-blower is a hero and I’m not. And I will be the hero! These morons—when this is over, I will be the hero.”

It marked the start of a day he would spend attacking Mike Pompeo's state department, whom he said he would enjoy watching "sink themselves".

Here's Chris Riotta with more detail on the interview.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 13:19
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Mr Giuliani went on Fox News on Thursday night, where he proposed several wild theories, including one that linked George Soros with Joe Biden's business in Ukraine.

His vitriol was mainly directed towards the state department. He shared several text messages with the broadcaster, which he claimed showed their influence in his meetings with top Ukrainian aides.

Mr Trump's lawyer told host Laura Ingraham: "The whistleblower falsely alleges that I was operating on my own. Well, I wasn’t operating on my own!"

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Two state department officials are accused in the whistleblower's complaint. 

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 13:30
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Here's Rudy Giuliani telling Fox News Laura Ingraham that he knew "Washington swamp people" would "kill" him after he started looking into Joe Biden's actions in Ukraine.

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Mr Biden claims he urged Ukraine to fire a chief prosecutor because he was corrupt, not because he was investigating natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which his son Hunter Biden was working for.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 13:44
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Nancy Pelosi joined others to condemn Donald Trump's "intimidation" of the whistleblower.

Pelosi told MSNBC she's "concerned” by the president’s rhetoric and said those conducting the impeachment probe would ensure there was no retaliation against people who provide information.

She also accused attorney general William Barr of “going rogue”, suggesting he was engaging in a “cover up of a cover up” for the president.

Mr Barr’s Justice Department first investigated the whistleblower’s complaint and opted not to send it to congress.

During the Zelensky call, Mr Trump said he would like the Ukrainian president to speak with Mr Barr about Joe Biden.

The Justice Department said Mr Barr had never been asked to contact Ukraine.

Andy Gregory27 September 2019 13:51

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