The Latest: Romney says Trump Ukraine call ‘troubling’

Political News

President Donald Trump speaks at a multilateral meeting on Venezuela at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the House impeachment inquiry (all times EST):

12:05 p.m.

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says that he has read the rough transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president and finds it “deeply troubling.”

Asked whether what he saw in the rough transcript amounted to direct quid pro quo, Romney said that “if the president of the United States asks or presses the leader of a foreign country to carry out an investigation of a political nature, that’s troubling.”

Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. He spoke Wednesday at The Atlantic Festival in Washington shortly after the White House released its rough transcript of the July call between Trump and the newly elected Ukrainian leader.

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11:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says “there was no pressure whatsoever” when he spoke with Ukraine’s leader about working with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint made in mid-August. The White House released a rough transcript of the call on Wednesday.

The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Trump says the impeachment inquiry is the “single greatest witch hunt in American history.” He also says of the call that it turned out to be “a nothing call.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday came as he met with world leaders in New York after addressing the U.N. General Assembly the day before.

Trump emphasized how well the economy is doing.

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10:10 a.m.

The memo summarizing President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukraine leader shows the president’s lingering fixation on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump flippantly refers to the ex-FBI director as a “man named Robert Mueller” and says he turned in “a very poor performance.”

The memo also shows that the president made reference to the private cybersecurity firm that investigated Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 election.

Trump suggests that Ukraine may be in the possession of the email server, though it’s unclear what he’s referring to.

Trump also says he’d like to have his attorney general “call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”

The White House released the memo Wednesday.

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10:05 a.m.

The intelligence community’s inspector general told the acting director of national intelligence that a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader could have been a federal campaign finance violation.

But the Justice Department determined the president did not commit a crime after prosecutors reviewed a rough transcript of the July 25 call.

A Justice Department official says the inspector general suspected that the call could have been a violation of federal law if the president was soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign government by asking the Ukraine leader to investigate a political opponent.

The official says that was based on the whistleblower’s complaint and the inspector general didn’t have access to a rough transcript of the call.

Prosecutors from the Justice Department reviewed a rough transcript of the call and determined the president did not violate campaign finance law.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal investigative deliberations.

—By Michael Balsamo

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s new leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden. That’s according to a five-page memo summarizing the July 25 call.

The White House released the memo Wednesday.

The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint made in mid-August.

The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Trump told the Ukrainian president “If you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me.” Trump was talking about unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of his son, Hunter.

Trump also confirmed that he ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before the call.

The president says he did nothing wrong.

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9:45 a.m.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is demanding that Attorney General William Barr produce the legal basis for withholding a whistleblower’s complaint against President Donald Trump.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said Wednesday in a letter to Barr that the refusal to turn over the complaint risks raising “the specter that the department has participated in a dangerous cover-up to protect the president.”

Schiff says the statute “makes no provision” for withholding the information from Congress. He wants the Office of Legal Counsel’s reasoning.

The administration is considering whether to release the complaint, which is based in part on Trump’s conversation to the Ukraine president that reportedly involved digging up dirt on rival Joe Biden.

But Schiff told reporters the administration has communicated “nothing” about its intentions.

Trump has denied doing anything wrong.

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8:10 a.m.

The House intelligence committee chairman says regardless of what a transcript of President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader says, Trump himself has said plenty to warrant an impeachment inquiry.

Trump plans to release the transcript Wednesday. On Tuesday, Trump criticized House Democrats for opening an impeachment probe without seeing the transcript of the call.

Chairman Adam Schiff told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday that “what the president has said publicly is damning enough.”

The impeachment probe focuses partly on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from Ukraine to undermine Democratic foe Joe Biden and investigate his son, Hunter Biden.

Trump has acknowledged temporarily freezing $400 million in military aid for Ukraine but denied it was leverage for information on the Bidens.

Schiff said national security is at risk “when the president would use military assistance to an ally as a cudgel.”

Schiff says there’s “no reason to wait” to see a whistleblower’s complaint or a transcript of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president before starting the impeachment inquiry.

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12:15 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, yielding to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election-year clash between Congress and the commander in chief.

The probe focuses partly on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine Democratic foe Joe Biden and help his own reelection. Pelosi said Tuesday such actions would mark a “betrayal of his oath of office” and declared, “No one is above the law.”

The impeachment inquiry, after months of investigations by House Democrats of the Trump administration, sets up the party’s most direct and consequential confrontation with the president, injects deep uncertainty into the 2020 election campaign and tests anew the nation’s constitutional system of checks and balances.

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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