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Trump ‘sought Ukraine’s help’ for 2020 

Washington, September 26

A whistleblower report released by a congressional panel on Thursday said President Donald Trump used his office to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 election to advance his personal political interests, risking US national security.

The Trump administration officials tried to “lock down” all details of US President Donald Trump’s phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, it said.

The Democratic-led US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee released a declassifed version of the report made by the whistleblower, which triggered weeks of controversy and prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into the Republican President.

“I am deeply concerned that the actions described below constitute ‘a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, or violation of law or executive order’ that ‘does not include differences of opinion concerning public policy matters’, consistent with the definition of an ‘urgent concern’,” the report said.

Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden, in coordination with US Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, according to a call summary  released by the Trump administration. 

Moments after the whistleblower report was made public, the committee began a hearing at which acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, was set to testify about the document after refusing for weeks to share the report with Congress. Saying that more than six White House officials had made contact about Trump’s communication with Ukraine, the report cited concerns that efforts to put pressure on Ukraine “pose risks to US national security”, undermining efforts “to deter and counter foreign interference in US elections”. Trump has denied wrongdoing and accused Democrats of trying to destroy him politically.

A federal law required that the report be sent to lawmakers after an inspector general determined that it was urgent and credible. Shortly before the hearing, the intelligence committee’s chairman, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, announced that it had received the declassified complaint and released it to the public. “This complaint should never have been withheld from Congress. It exposed serious wrongdoing, and was found both urgent and credible by the Inspector General,” he said.

Trump denounced the report. “The democrats are trying to destroy the republican party and all that it stands for,” he tweeted.

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