December 16, 2019, 15:43

Trump says China should investigate Bidens, Pence comes to his defense : Live updates

Trump says China should investigate Bidens, Pence comes to his defense : Live updates

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2:40 p.m. Trump reiterates his frustration over impeachment inquiry

Speaking to his first large group of supporters since the start of the impeachment inquiry, President Trump in Florida said that it would be a “sad day for our country” if the Democrats were successful in impeaching him.

2:00 p.m. Vice President Mike Pence defends Trump amid impeachment inquiry probe

As those close to the president get looped into the investigation into Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian leaders, Pence while speaking to reporters defended the now infamous July 25 call with the president of Ukraine.

“Anyone that looks at the president’s transcript will see that the president was raising issues that were appropriate, that were genuine interest to the American people,” Pence said. “And as more facts come out of this, as people take time to read the transcript of the president’s call and reflect on these facts, they’ll come to realize this is more of the same of what we’ve seen from Democrats in the last two and a half years.”

Pence supported Trump’s call to have both former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden investigated.

“We’re going to continue to ask the questions of whether the vice president or his family profited from business,” Pence said. “You can see there is clearly quid pro quo. If a prosecutor was not fired, who, among other things, was investigating the company his son was on the board with that he was going to withhold a million dollars.”

1:40 p.m. Defense Department to hand over Ukraine-related documents to the Office of General Counsel

The Pentagon’s General Counsel has ordered all Defense Department offices to provide “any pertinent documents and records to the Office of General Counsel” related to Ukraine security assistance.

“Today the General Counsel of the Department in keeping with past practice on matters of importance and to ensure that all appropriate department information is available in this matter directed that DoD offices should provide any pertinent documents and records to the Office of General Counsel for cataloging and review,” Chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman told reporters during an on camera briefing.

“With regard to the General Counsel memo my understanding is that this is a fairly standard practice when there is a significant level of Congressional or [inspector general] interest in a matter,” he added.

Hoffman said the General Counsel may release the memo to the press either later Thursday or Friday morning.

10:37 a.m. Trump says Ukraine and China should investigate the Bidens

President Donald Trump extended his attacks on Rep. Adam Schiff along with former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Thursday morning while speaking to reporters at the White House South Lawn

(MORE: Whistleblower drafted complaint ‘entirely on their own,’ attorney says)

On Wednesday, the president refused to answer a question at the center of the impeachment inquiry: On that July 25 phone call, what did he want Ukraine’s president to do about Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter?

However, on Thursday he seemed to provide more insight into what he did in fact seek from Ukraine’s president and even went further to say that he wanted China to investigate Biden — even as he faces an impeachment inquiry for pushing Ukraine to do the same.

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump walks out to speak to members of the media on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 3, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Florida.

“I would think that if they were honest about it, they would start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said. “It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. Because how does a company that’s newly formed and all these companies if you look — by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.”

(MORE: Trump says China should investigate Bidens)

Trump also expressed his frustration with Schiff calling him a “stone-cold liar.”

“I can say Schiff has proven to be a liar,” Trump said. “We’ve known it for three years because they’ve been trying to impeach for three years. He’s a liar. He’s a stone-cold liar.”

9:06 a.m. Kurt Volker arrives for deposition

Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as the special envoy to Ukraine, is set to testify behind closed doors Thursday morning to the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, arrives for a closed-door interview with House investigators, as House Democrats proceed with the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, at the Capitol in Washington, Oct. 3, 2019.

His deposition is set to focus on the explosive whistleblower complaint claiming that President Donald Trump ordered state officials to work with Ukraine to target political rivals.

(MORE: Kurt Volker resigns as US special envoy to Ukraine)

Volker is now involved impeachment inquiry controversy due to his apparent efforts in facilitating a meeting between Trump and Ukraine’s president. His Thursday testimony is the latest update in the overall controversy.

Volker arrived as the first witness to testify on Capitol Hill despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal to allow State Department to testify.


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