Trump news: President's Ukraine call was part of 'illicit and corrupt scheme', released testimonies say
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Before public hearings begin in the impeachment investigation into Donald Trump, recently released transcripts of testimonies from two key witnesses offer a more complete picture of the president's dealings with Ukraine and the role of his attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Lt Col Alexander Vindman testified that "no doubt" the president was asking for investigations into his political rivals, and Fiona Hill warned that Mr Giuliani was peddling conspiracy theories to Mr Trump that could make US elections in 2020 vulnerable to Russian influence.
Mr Trump told reporters at the White House he is considering Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend Moscow’s Victory Day parade and is planning to release a new transcript of an earlier call with Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in an attempt to clear his name with the House impeachment inquiry ongoing.
As the president’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney failed to show up for his deposition to the inquiry despite being issued with a subpoena late on Thursday, Democratic congressman Danny Heck has dismissed the significance of the White House’s refusal to co-operate, saying the panel has already amassed “a mountain of evidence” against the president.
Steve Bannon, Mr Trump's former White House chief strategist and a key figure in his campaign, testified in the trial of Roger Stone that Mr Stone was the campaign's "access point" for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
But Mr Bannon did not say whether the president had actually ever relied on Mr Stone to deliver information from the organisation. He believes Mr Stone knew about Hillary Clinton's campaign emails that WikiLeaks planned to release.
Mr Stone is on trial for witness tampering and lying to Congress about his role in the WikiLeaks scandal, which prosecutors argue Mr Stone had arranged to deliver information on Mr Trump's political rivals in order to protect the president.
Meanwhile, the latest excerpts from A Warning, the new book by an anonymous administration insider, has revealed Mr Trump’s senior staff once considered resigning en masse in response to the president’s behaviour, which the mystery author characterises as volatile and incompetent.
The president ended his week announcing plans to take his tax case to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether take up Mr Trump's attempt to block a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney seeking his tax records.
Follow along as it happened in our liveblog.
Ex-national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday became the tenth scheduled witness not to turn up to give a deposition this week, with the House team since issuing a subpoena to the president’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that he is not expected to respond to. Mark Sandy, the associate director for national security programmes at the White House Office of Management and Budget, is also scheduled to appear on Friday, but probably will not do so either.
Democrats say they will use the high-profile no-shows - like that of energy secretary Rick Perry - as evidence of the president's obstruction of Congress.
Unelected bureaucrats and cabinet appointees were never going to steer Donald Trump the right direction in the long run, or refine his malignant management style. He is who he is.
A judge sided with a New York-led lawsuit that alleged Trump and his three eldest children - Ivanka, Donald Jr and Eric Trump - had made "persistent" violations of federal and state campaign finance laws and abused the tax exempt status of the Donald J Trump Foundation by using it as "little more than a chequebook" to serve the president and his business and political interests, according to the suit.
Fox News host Sean Hannity has demanded that government employees “stop lying" about him after it was revealed he had been mentioned by two separate officials in their depositions to the impeachment inquiry.
Hannity's name has cropped up twice in the investigation so far in relation to his considerable influence over Trump, as recorded in the transcripts of the testimonies by Marie Yovanovitch and George Kent, prompting the right-wing anchor (don't say that phrase too fast) to demand on Twitter: "I STRONGLY ADVISE ALL OF YOU TO STOP LYING ABOUT ME."
- Claims he is the number two target for political opponents after his father and gets the second highest number of death threats
- Claims that Trump supporters were beaten up after his father's recent rally in Minneapolis