06 de julio de 2020
English - News

White House officials astonished, concerned over Trump's request of Kyiv

By Alfonso Fernandez and Alex Segura

Washington, Nov 19 (efe-epa).- Surprise, even astonishment, was what two current White House officials - Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams - said they felt when they learned of the "improper" and "unusual" demand made of Ukraine by President Donald Trump, a request that has unleashed the current impeachment investigation against him.

Saying he was concerned upon listening to the call live, Vindman said "Without hesitation, I knew I had to report this. It was inappropriate, it was improper for the president to demand an investigation into a political opponent."

Vindman is the main Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, and he was referring to the July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the US leader asked Kyiv to investigate current Democratic presidential contender and former Vice President Joe Biden.

That is precisely the point of departure for the impeachment proceedings currently under way in the House of Representatives, which are seeking to determine if Trump intentionally blocked the delivery of $400 million in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to try and force Kyiv to launch an investigation into Biden and the business activities of his son Hunter in the East European country.

"It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play," Vindman said, adding that "This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support (in the US Congress), undermine US national security, and advance Russia's strategic objectives in the region."

Vindman said that he never imagined that reporting his concerns to his superiors and to White House Counsel John Eisenberg, who told him not to discuss it further, would result in his testifying before Congress, adding that he was only doing his "duty" to report behavior he considered improper and detrimental to US national security.

The hearing was clearly divided along partisan lines, with Democrats trying to emphasize the highlights of Vindman's by all accounts exemplary US Army career and his credibility and Republicans trying to discredit him at every turn.

The first clash came early in Tuesday's hearing when the ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, referred to Vindman as "mister," to which the Army officer outfitted in his dress blues with his medals on his chest said, "It's Lt. Col. Vindman, please," reminding the conservative lawmaker, one of Trump's most adamant supporters in Congress, to address him by his rank.

In his testimony, Vindman said that this past spring he noticed that the then-attorney general of Ukraine, Yuri Lutsenko, and Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani,

The former New York mayor was "promoting false information that undermined the United States' Ukraine policy," Vindman stated.

He also said that the White House omitted the name "Burisma," the large Ukrainian energy company, from the so-called transcription of that July 25 call made public by the White House, although Vindman acknowledged that the omission was a minor error, which he had tried to correct.

Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma.

Regarding the testimony of Williams, a policy aide to Vice President Mike Pence, she agreed that the younger Biden's activities on the Burisma board could "potentially" have been a conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, although Williams adopted a less blunt or forceful tone than Vindman, she testified that the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky surprised her for its unusual content.

She said that she considered the content of the call to be "unusual" given that it included a discussion of what seemed to her to be a domestic political matter.

She also said that she was surprised that she had been mentioned by name by Trump in a Twitter message on the weekend in which he claimed she was a "Never Trumper," as those who have refused to support him during his presidential candidacy and since he came into office have been labeled by Trump and his supporters.

"It certainly surprised me," she said. "I wasn't expecting to be called out by name."

Pence's special adviser on Europe and Russia explained that the previously anticipated trip by the vice president to attend the newly-elected Zelensky's inauguration - although the date of that event was not yet known - was ultimately cancelled by Trump himself.

When asked about the possible reasons for that cancellation, Williams said only that she was not in a position to "speculate" about the president's motivation.

On Tuesday afternoon, the impeachment hearings in the House Intelligence Committee are continuing with the testimony of Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, the official formerly in charge of Russian affairs at the National Security Council and Vindman's direct superior.



Histórico de noticias
Too-early reopening responsible for Covid-19 spikes in US

Washington, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Local officials in the US states hardest hit by the renewed Covid-19 spikes - including Florida and Arizona - on Sunday are...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: July 2

Miami Desk, Jul 2 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US puts brakes on economic reopening as daily infection tally hits new high

By Jairo Mejia

Plastic curtain allows relatives to hug quarantined elderly in Sao Paulo

By Carla Samon Ros

Three snapshots of Venezuela's ongoing crisis

By Ron Gonzalez

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: July 1

Miami Desk, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US buys up almost all Remdesivir to treat COVID-19

Washington, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- The United States, the world epicenter for the coronavirus with more than 2.6 million cases and a death toll of 127,000, has...

Weinstein victims to receive $19 mn in settlement

New York, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Dozens of women who were sexually abused and harassed while they were working for now-convicted US film producer Harvey...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 30

Miami Desk, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US considering another stimulus package amid huge pandemic challenge

By Alfonso Fernandez

Fauci: US could quickly jump from 40K to 100K daily Covid-19 cases

Washington, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- The top US government epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday warned that the number of newly detected daily...

Ex-Pemex chief arrested in Spain agrees to be extradited to Mexico

Mexico City, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero reported Tuesday that the former director of Mexico's state-run oil company...

Black Lives Matter protesters set up camp in New York

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

More than 100 arrested for vandalizing statues amid US protests

Washington, Jun 29 (efe-epa).- More than 100 people have been arrested for vandalizing statues and monuments amid the protests against racism and police...

Supreme Court overturns Louisiana law restricting abortion

Washington, Jun 29 (efe-epa).- The US Supreme Court on Monday overturned a law that would have severely restricted access to abortion in Louisiana, dealing...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 28

Miami Desk, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

LGTB+ groups cancel marches due to pandemic, but not demands for equality

International Desk, Jun 28 (efe-epa). - The coronavirus pandemic forced the worldwide LGTB+ community to cancel in-person marches and Gay Pride parties on...

No new Florida COVID-19 record set, but Miami infections keep rising

Miami, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- After two consecutive days of setting new records for newly detected coronavirus infections, the daily number of cases confirmed...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 25

Miami Desk, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Worst Sahara dust cloud in 50 yrs endangering Caribbean air quality

San Juan/Havana, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- A good part of the Caribbean, from Cuba to Mexico, including Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles, this week is suffering...

Supreme Court limits legal rights of undocumented migrants requesting asylum

Washington, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- The US Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that immigrants whose asylum requests were rejected when they entered the country...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 24

Miami Desk, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Coronavirus spreading non-stop through US South, West, breaking daily records

Washington, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus is spreading non-stop through the US South and West as states there - including Florida, Texas, California...

Diageo allots $100 mn to help rebuild world's bars

Miami, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- Diageo - the maker of Smirnoff vodka, Johnny Walker Scotch whisky and Bailey's, the world's best-selling liqueur - will allocate...