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15 Dec 2019 20:26
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  •   Home > News > International

    Donald Trump considers testifying to US Congress over Ukraine dealings

    US President Donald Trump takes a swipe at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi while also supporting her suggestion that he testify at impeachment hearings about his dealings with aid money for Ukraine.


    United States President Donald Trump says he likes the idea of testifying in relation to impeachment hearings and will "strongly consider it".

    Mr Trump made the remarks in a series of tweets that took aim at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Monday morning (local time), in which he also said he "did nothing wrong".

    Mr Trump tweeted, "She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don't like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!"

    Pushing back against accusations from the Republican President that the process has been stacked against him, Ms Pelosi said Mr Trump is welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses.

    "If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it," Ms Pelosi said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation.

    Mr Trump "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants".

    Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer echoed that suggestion.

    "If Donald Trump doesn't agree with what he's hearing, doesn't like what he's hearing, he shouldn't tweet. He should come to the committee and testify under oath. And he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath," Mr Schumer told reporters.

    He said the White House's insistence on blocking witnesses from cooperating begs the question: "What is he hiding?"

    The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a second week of public hearings as part of its inquiry, including with the man who is arguably the most important witness.

    Gordon Sondland, Mr Trump's ambassador to the European Union, is among the only people interviewed to date who had direct conversations with the President about the situation because the White House has blocked others from cooperating with what it dismisses as a sham investigation.

    And testimony suggests he was intimately involved in discussions that are at the heart of the investigation into whether Mr Trump held up US military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure the country's President to announce an investigation into Democrats, including former vice-president Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, and Mr Biden's son Hunter.

    Multiple witnesses overheard a phone call in which Mr Trump and Mr Sondland reportedly discussed efforts to push for the investigations.

    In private testimony to impeachment investigators made public Saturday, Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide and longtime Republican defence hawk, said Mr Sondland told him he was discussing Ukraine matters directly with Mr Trump.


    Mr Morrison said Mr Sondland and Mr Trump had spoken approximately five times between July 15 and September 11 — the weeks that $391 million in US assistance was withheld from Ukraine before it was released.

    And he recounted that Mr Sondland told a top Ukrainian official in a meeting that the vital US military assistance might be freed up if the country's top prosecutor "would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation".

    Burisma is the gas company that hired Hunter Biden.

    Mr Morrison's testimony contradicted much of what Mr Sondland told congressional investigators during his own closed-door deposition, which the ambassador later amended.

    Mr Trump has said he had no recollection of the overheard call and has suggested he barely knew Mr Sondland, a wealthy donor to his 2016 campaign.

    But Democrats are hoping he sheds new light on the discussions.

    ABC/AP

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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