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8 November, 2019 10:45:58 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 November, 2019 12:33:30 PM
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Trump twisted Ukraine policy: senior official

George P. Kent testified that he saw President Trump’s demands for Ukraine to “initiate politically motivated prosecutions” as corrupt.
Independent Online/ The New York Times
Trump twisted Ukraine
policy: senior official
President Trump offers a handshake to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting in New York, on September 25, 2019.AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine told impeachment investigators last month that he was alarmed at President Trump’s insistence that Ukraine “initiate politically motivated prosecutions,” casting the effort as the kind of tactic the United States typically condemns in the world’s most corrupt countries.

George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified that he regarded the push for investigations — spearheaded by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer — as “injurious to the rule of law,” and to decades of American foreign policy.

 

“There is an outstanding issue about people in office in those countries using selectively politically motivated prosecutions to go after their opponents,” Mr. Kent said in his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, according to a transcript released on Thursday. “And that’s wrong for the rule of law regardless of what country that happens.”

 

Mr. Kent said he documented his concerns in a memo that he wrote over the summer, weeks before the public disclosure of a whistle-blower complaint about a July 25 call in which Mr. Trump pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, to begin investigations of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and the 2016 election.

 

In his testimony, Mr. Kent offered a new detail that appeared to underscore that political motivation was at the heart of Mr. Trump’s demand for investigations by Ukraine, saying that he was told that the president wanted to hear the country’s leader say the name “Clinton” in connection with potential wrongdoing.

 

Mr. Kent described being briefed about an early September conversation in which Mr. Trump told Gordon D. Sondland, the ambassador to the European Union, that Mr. Zelensky should publicly commit to investigating the Bidens and questions about Democratic collusion in 2016.

 

That would suggest that Trump had politics in mind — not just a broader interest in Ukraine’s anticorruption agenda, as his defenders have insisted — when he pressed Zelenskiy to take action. But Kent acknowledged during his testimony that his account of the conversation was not firsthand, and other witnesses have not mentioned it.

Kent and William B Taylor Jr, the top diplomat in Ukraine, will be the first witnesses called by the Democrats to testify in a set of highly anticipated hearings that are likely to be televised live.

Late Thursday, the committee issued a subpoena to compel Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, to appear for a closed-door interview Friday.

HM

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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