US President Donald Trump has rejected asking the justice department to clear him of wrongdoing over a telephone call with Ukraine’s president that is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.
US media say Chief law officer William Barr declined Mr Trump’s demand to hold a press conference to state no laws were broken.
Mr Trump called the story a “con task”.
The Democratic-led questions depends upon whether Mr Trump pushed Ukraine on that call to examine a rival.
Mr Trump rejects using US military aid as a bargaining chip to prod Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky into introducing a corruption investigation against Democratic White House contender Joe Biden.
According to a rough transcript, Mr Trump suggested that Mr Zelensky work with Mr Barr throughout the call.
A justice department spokesperson later said Mr Barr was unaware he had actually been discussed by the president up until “a number of weeks” after the call.
The United States president, a Republican politician, has actually repeatedly insisted his call with Ukraine’s leader was “ideal”.
” The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good,” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
The president seemed referring to a declaration issued by the department in September, saying it had “examined the official record of the call and identified, based upon the truths and relevant law, that there was no campaign financing offense which no more action was necessitated”.
After the Washington Post published a story about Mr Trump’s alleged request to Mr Barr, the president called the report “degenerate”. Ever since other media, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York City Times and the BBC’s United States partner CBS News, have actually run similar stories.
Donald Trump What is the current in the impeachment probe?
House Democrats will hold the first public hearings next week. Among the very first to appear will be Expense Taylor, acting US ambassador to Ukraine.
Mr Taylor said in a private hearing last month it was his “clear understanding” that the president had actually kept almost $400 m (₤310 m) in United States military aid because he wanted Ukraine to examine discredited corruption claims against Democrat Joe Biden and his child.
Likewise on Thursday, the committees leading the impeachment inquiry launched a records of a closed-door deposition by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent last month.
In his statement, Mr Kent echoed criticism of the role played by Mr Trump’s personal legal representative Rudy Giuliani – who many witnesses have actually implicated of being behind the drive to get Ukraine to reveal an investigation into the Bidens.
Mr Kent stated Mr Giuliani had been conducting a “campaign of loaded with lies and incorrect info”.
In August, an anonymous intelligence whistleblower composed a letter revealing issue over the 25 July Trump-Zelensky call, which happened soon after Mr Trump withheld military help to Ukraine.
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The whistleblower’s identity has so far been carefully safeguarded by Democrats, amidst needs from their Republican colleagues to speak with the private straight. Legal representatives for the whistleblower have actually told private investigators their client is only ready to address written questions.
The conservative Fox News network, which is usually helpful of Mr Trump, has reportedly instructed its hosts not to recognize the supposed whistleblower. Other right-wing media outlets have actually already done so.
A lot of media organisations, consisting of the BBC, have actually not named the source.
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