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Trump-supporting Congressman says whistleblower scandal has ‘backfired’ on Democrats

Joe Biden’s campaign ‘looks like’ it is coming to an end because of reports about the former vice president’s possible misconduct in Ukraine, a top Republican lawmaker predicted on Sunday.

House Rep. Devin Nunes of California also told Fox News that Democrats’ attempts to portray President Trump’s actions in Ukraine as a scandal will backfire.

‘These stories [about Biden] first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race,’ Nunes said.

‘So now that these have been resurrected, I don’t know who came up with the scheme – maybe this whistleblower really is not a partisan.

House Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, predicted on Sunday that Joe Biden’s campaign would end over reports of alleged misconduct in Ukraine

‘We want to hear from that whistleblower, but it sure looks like the scheme has backfired.

‘And, like I said, it looks like this is the end of Biden’s campaign. I really do… his lead is basically down to zero.’

A whistleblower in the intelligence community lodged a complaint alleging that the president made a ‘promise’ to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

It has been reported that the president pressured Zelensky to instruct government officials in Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.

When Joe Biden was vice president, he pressured Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor who at the time was investigating a Ukrainian gas company.

At the time, Hunter Biden held a directorship with the company, which included a $50,000-a-month salary.

Democrats are now demanding that the contents of the whistleblower complaint be made public.

If Trump used aid to Ukraine as leverage in order to force the country to investigate a political opponent, it could be grounds for impeachment, Democrats say.

But Nunes dismissed Democrats’ claims. The California Republican compared the whistleblower issue with the Mueller investigation, which found that there was not enough evidence indicating that Trump colluded with Russia.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is seen above at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

Former Vice President Joe Biden is seen above at a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

‘The more I think that they’re out there promoting this kind of craziness and silliness, the more that the American people are put off, and the more likely President Trump is reelected,’ Nunes said.

Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.

Mueller, in his report, said there did not appear to be a conspiracy between Trump and Russia, though he left open the possibility that the president obstructed justice.

‘This has all the hallmarks of the Russia hoax,’ Nunes said.

‘Something leaks out. … and then it’s the same reporters that report on it, the same reporters that reported on the Russia hoax.

‘Then you move forward, and what happens? Then supposedly they come and testify – and the night before they testify, the whistleblower who supposedly doesn’t want anybody to know who this person is, or what information they have, well, it’s spilled all over the pages of the Washington Post’ before Congress is briefed on the matter.

Nunes added: ‘Whoever came up with this scheme – it looks like somebody was trying to deflect what Biden did back in 2015.

A new poll shows Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts leading for the first time in Iowa. Warren is seen far left with striking General Motors workers in Hamtramck, Michigan on Sunday

A new poll shows Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts leading for the first time in Iowa. Warren is seen far left with striking General Motors workers in Hamtramck, Michigan on Sunday

‘This scheme seems to have backfired on Biden. I mean, Biden’s already dropping in the polls.’

A recent poll shows Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts pulling ahead of Biden in Iowa – the first time since the campaign began that the former vice president is polled behind one of his competitors.

Trump suggested Sunday that he raised the issue of Hunter Biden in a summer phone call with Ukraine’s new leader, as Democrats pressed for investigations into whether Trump improperly used his office to try to dig up damaging information about a political rival.

Trump told reporters that the July 25 call with Zelensky was ‘congratulatory’ and focused on corruption in the East European nation.

In his remarks to reporters, he then raised Biden as an example, although there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

‘It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine,’ Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.

Biden, meanwhile, accused Trump of making a baseless political smear.

The matter has sparked a fierce debate over whether Trump misused his office for political gain and whether his administration is withholding from Congress critical information about his actions.

The incident is part of a whistleblower complaint, but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, has refused to share details with lawmakers, citing presidential privilege.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted calls for impeachment for other alleged Trump transgressions, said Sunday that unless Maguire provides information to Congress, administration officials ‘will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.’

President Donald Trump admitted Sunday that he did mention Joe Biden during a call about 'corruption' with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He insisted the only talk was about corruption, and did not address reports of him trying to pressure the Ukrainian leader

President Donald Trump admitted Sunday that he did mention Joe Biden during a call about ‘corruption’ with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He insisted the only talk was about corruption, and did not address reports of him trying to pressure the Ukrainian leader

A whistle-blower alleged that in a call with Zelensky in July, Trump pressured him to prosecute former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden (left) to hurt Biden's 2020 campaign. The president has dismissed the story and accusations as 'ridiculous'

A whistle-blower alleged that in a call with Zelensky in July, Trump pressured him to prosecute former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden (left) to hurt Biden’s 2020 campaign. The president has dismissed the story and accusations as ‘ridiculous’

Another impeachment holdout so far, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union that ‘we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.’

A person familiar with the matter has told The Associated Press that Trump urged Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden.

The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

‘Ukraine’s got a lot of problems,’ Trump said at the White House.

‘The new president is saying that he’s going to be able to rid the country of corruption and I said that would be a great thing. We had a great conversation. We had a conversation on many things.’

Hunter Biden was hired by the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings in April 2014, two months after Ukraine’s Russia-friendly president was ousted by protesters and as his father was heavily involved in U.S. efforts to support the new pro-Western government and its pledge to fight corruption.

The hiring of the younger Biden immediately raised concerns that the Ukrainian firm, whose owner was a political ally of the ousted president, was seeking to gain influence with the Obama administration.

Two years later, Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor general, who was accused by many in Ukraine and in the West of being soft on corruption.

Trump has claimed that the prosecutor, who had led an investigation into Burisma’s owner, ‘was after’ Hunter Biden and the vice president was trying to protect his son. There is no evidence of this.

Viktor Shokin, Ukraine's former prosecutor general

Yuriy Lutsenko, Shokin's successor

In 2014, Viktor Shokin (left), Ukraine’s top prosecutor, investigated the owner of Burisma, a  Ukrainian gas company where Hunter Biden held a directorship. Joe Biden led international efforts to have Shokin fired. He was replaced by Yuriy Lutsenko (right), who dropped the investigation into Burisma’s owner

Trump insisted he said ‘absolutely nothing wrong’ in the call to Zelensky.

He did not answer directly when asked whether he would release a transcript of the conversation to the public.

After arriving in Texas, Trump told reporters he will look into releasing details or a transcript of the call, but stressed that foreign leaders should feel free to speak frankly with an American president without fear that the details of their conversations will later be disclosed.

Trump said if Ukraine released its own transcript it would be the same as his version of the call.

Trump and Zelenskiy plan to meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly later this week.

The president has described the whistleblower as ‘partisan’ but has acknowledged not knowing the identity of the intelligence official who lodged a formal complaint against him with the inspector general for the intelligence community.

THE VERY TANGLED TALE OF THE UKRAINE: HOW SLOW-BURN SCANDAL EXPLODED TO THREATEN TRUMP AND HIS RIVAL

March 2014: Joe Biden is de facto special envoy to Ukraine, crisis-hit by Russia’s shock annexation of the Crimea the previous month

April 2014: Hunter Biden joins the board of Burisma Holdings, one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas firms. The same month its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has $23 million in London bank accounts frozen by British authorities on suspicion of money-laundering. Biden had been discharged from the Navy for testing positive for cocaine in February

January 2015: British court releases the money after office of the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Vitaly Yarema, tells Zlochevsky there is no case against him.  In September the Obama-administration ambassador to Kiev rails against the new prosecutor-general, Viktor Shokin, for the move and demands a misconduct investigation into his office. 

May 2016: Joe Biden, having made repeated trips to Ukraine demanding the removal of Shokin for failing to investigate corruption, a message carried with the backing of the IMF, threatens to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if the prosecutor is not removed; the prosecutor is fired

March 20, 2019: Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer publishes Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, alleging misconduct by Joe and Hunter Biden

April: On an unknown date, Hunter Biden leaves board of Burisma. He had received as much as $50,000 a month

April 25: Joe Biden officially enters race for the presidency 

May 1: A New York Times report highlights Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine. The next day, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney tweets: ‘Biden conflicts are too apparent to be ignored and should be investigated quickly and expeditiously. But the more important question is how deep and how high did the alleged Ukraine conspiracy go?’

May 7: The career diplomat serving as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is recalled. Separately, Bloomberg reports that the Burisma investigation had been shelved in 2014, before Shokin was prosecutor, and that there were no demands by the U.S. for it to be closed

May 20: Volodymyr Zelensky is sworn in as president of Ukraine 

June: Rudy Giuliani meets an official from the Ukraine prosecutor general’s office in Paris, he tells the Wall Street Journal. The date is unknown

Early July: $250 million of military aid from U.S. to Ukraine is secretly put on ice despite having been approved by Congress, the New York Times reports 

July 1: Hunter Biden tells the New Yorker he is a recovering drug addict and that father discussed Burisma with him just once. ‘Dad said, “I hope you know what you are doing,” and I said, “I do.”‘

July 24: Robert Mueller testifies to Congress

July 25: Donald Trump calls Ukraine’s president Zelensky. He pressures him eight times to investigate Hunter Biden and co-operate with Giuliani. The two are due to meet on September 2 in Poland at a commemoration of the Nazi invasion in 1939

July 27: Kurt Volker, the State Department’s special envoy for peace between Ukraine and Russian visits Kiev and meets Zelensky. He tells reporter the country needs ‘the rule of law’

August 3: Giuliani meets Andriy Yermak, an ally of Zelensky in or near Madrid, and tweets from Santa Cruz del Retamar, 40 miles from Madrid. He asked Volker to set up the meeting, which he did, and then briefed the State Department on it but said he was acting ‘in a personal capacity’

August 12: The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, receives a complaint from a ‘member of the intelligence community’ – someone working for one of 17 agencies which include the CIA and FBI, but not the White House or Congress

August 15: Dan Coats serves his final day as Director of National Intelligence, and is replaced by in an acting capacity by Joseph Maguire

August 20: Trump says it would be ‘appropriate’ for Russia to rejoin the G7 

August 26: Atkinson transmits the complaint to Maguire, which he has to do by law if he has found it ‘urgent’ and ‘credible’

August 28: Politico reveals the $250 million military aide is on ice 

September 2 (Labor Day): Mike Pence, standing in for Trump on the Polish trip, tells Zelensky he and Trump have ‘great concerns about issues of corruption in Ukraine.’ Legal deadline for Maguire to transmit the complaint to Congress expires

September 3: Bipartisan group of senators write to Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director as well as chief of staff, demanding military aid is unfrozen

September 9: Inspector General writes to the House and Senate Intelligence committees telling them that he has received a complaint from a member of the intelligence community – but not what it is

Same day: House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees – all Democratic led – announce investigation into whether Trump pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate the Bidens in his July 25 call, and used military aid as leverage

September 10: House Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff writes to Maguire demanding information on the complaint

September 12: Trump administration withdraws hold on $250 military aid 

September 13: Maguire writes unclassified letter to the intel committees saying the complaint does not need to be disclosed because it did not ‘concern allegations of conduct by a member of the Intelligence Community or involve an intelligence activity under the DNI’s supervision.’ He also says that the DNI ‘lacks unilateral authority’ to allow the complaint to go to Congress

September 13, evening: Schiff subpoenas Maguire to testify. Democrat says that the DNI’s office has refused to rule out that it involves Trump, and that it is about an ‘area of active investigation by the committee.’

September 17: Maguire’s general counsel writes to Schiff and tells him two key things. The first is that the complaint ‘concerned conduct by someone outside the Intelligence Community and did not relate to any intelligence activity under the DNI’s supervision.’ That means the DNI is saying it isn’t a matter for the inspector general at all. The second is that it ‘involves confidential and potentially privileged matters relating to the interests of other stakeholders within the Executive Branch.’ And he says that the conclusion was reached after consultation with the Department of Justice, which is led by Attorney General Bill Barr.

September 17: Atkinson writes to Schiff saying he and Maguire are ‘at an impasse’ over the complaint. Calling the complaint ‘credible’ and ‘urgent,’ he says the IG’s view is that it does concern ‘an intelligence activity’ inside his remit – but that the DNI’s decision that it does not binds his hands. He says he has asked to be allowed to tell Congress ‘the basic subject matter’ of the complaint but been told not to

September 18: Schiff writes to Maguire, saying he will accept his testimony on September 26. The complaint is revealed to be about ‘Trump’s communications with a foreign leader.’

September 19, 9a.m.: Atkinson meets the House Intel committee behind closed doors. He tells them that the complaint is definitely within his jurisdiction but not what it is

September 19, 10.47a.m.: Trump tweets a denial of wrongdoing, saying: ‘…is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially “heavily populated” call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!’

September 19, 9pm: Rudy Giuliani admits to CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he asked Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. He claims he was acting as Trump’s attorney but the president did not know in advance

September 20, 10am: Trump tweets confirmation that the complaint is about Ukraine and in the Oval Office publicly denies wrongdoing saying: ‘It doesn’t matter what I discussed.’ He says: ‘Someone should look into Joe Biden.’

September 20, 4pm: The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Associated Press say ‘former’ officials tell them that Trump pressured Zelensky eight times. The White House Counsel is revealed to have advised on keeping the complaint from Congress

September 20, 6.30pm: Joe Biden calls it ‘clear-cut corruption’ and demands a transcript of the call to Zelensky is published  

The complaint was based on a series of events, including the July 25 call between Trump and Zelenskiy, according to two people familiar with the matter.

They were not authorized to discuss the issue by name and were granted anonymity.

Biden said in Iowa on Saturday that ‘Trump deserves to be investigated’ for ‘trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that’s what happened.’

Biden said Trump was motivated by politics ‘because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum.’

A leading Republican senator urged the Justice Department to investigate the ‘Biden-Ukraine connection.’

‘We have looked at all things Russia and Trump, his family, everything about his family, every transaction between the Trump campaign and Russia,’ Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.

Now is the time, he said, to know ‘what relationships, if any, did Biden world have to the Ukraine.’

Michael Atkinson, the U.S. government’s intelligence inspector general, has described the whistleblower’s Aug. 12 complaint as ‘serious’ and ‘urgent,’ but he has not been allowed to turn over the complaint to Congress.

Maguire, the acting intelligence director, has been subpoenaed by Schiff’s committee and is expected to testify publicly on Thursday.

Maguire and Atkinson also are expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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