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Ukraine

Updated on Saturday at 3:01 p.m.

With the State Department facing continued questions over the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch before she was recalled as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would not say on Friday whether he owed the career diplomat an apology.

"I've defended every single person on this team," Pompeo said in an interview with NPR. "I've done what's right for every single person on this team."

An important federal watchdog released a report on Thursday concluding President Trump's actions in the Ukraine affair broken a budget law.

House Democrats impeached Trump in part because they said he abused his power in freezing military aid that Congress had allocated to help Ukraine in its war against Russia. Trump asked Ukraine's president to conduct an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival for the 2020 election.

Hyde Campaign

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, said he dismissed information given to him by Robert Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress in Connecticut's 5th District. 

Connecticut Congressional Candidate Involved In Ukraine Scandal

Jan 15, 2020
Hyde Campaign

Robert F. Hyde, a Simsbury construction company owner, Trump donor and a Republican candidate for the U.S. House, is now a figure in the presidential impeachment inquiry after documents suggest he spied on the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET

White House officials questioned whether President Trump might be breaking the law when he ordered military assistance for Ukraine frozen in July, according to transcripts released on Tuesday by House Democrats.

Among the key figures embroiled in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who announced last week that he will be resigning later this year.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

There’s been a jump in the number of people who support the impeachment of President Donald Trump, according to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll.

Two of Rudy Giuliani's associates appeared in federal court Wednesday in Manhattan, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally funneling foreign donations to U.S. political candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are both U.S. citizens born in the former Soviet Union: Parnas in Ukraine, and Fruman in Belarus.

Each week — and some days, it seems, each hour — brings more clarity to the picture of the Ukraine affair and the political crisis it sparked in Washington over impeachment.

But some of the biggest questions still don't have answers.

Here's a look at where the saga stands, what investigators want to learn and what major decisions still must be reached before the fever breaks.

The Ukraine affair

No one disputes the basic outlines of the Ukraine affair, including President Trump:

Updated at 7:35 p.m. ET

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged several substantial facts about the Ukraine affair on Thursday — but disputed that it was inappropriate or that the administration even was trying to hide what it had done.

Mulvaney acknowledged that President Trump expected concessions from his Ukrainian counterpart in exchange for engagement and also that Trump had empowered his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to run what has been called a parallel foreign policy for Ukraine on his own.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Two Florida-based businessmen who helped President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in his efforts to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine have been arrested and charged with campaign finance violations in a separate matter.

Updated 9:50 a.m. ET

The Trump administration has blocked Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before Congress on Tuesday.

Sondland has been a key figure in the widening Ukraine scandal involving the president, members of his Cabinet and high-ranking diplomats.

The legal team representing the whistleblower whose complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry against President Trump now says it is representing a second whistleblower described as an intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the allegations against the president.

Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET

Senior U.S. diplomats debated the propriety of a White House strategy aimed at pressuring Ukraine for political investigations in exchange for assistance and engagement with President Trump, new documents show.

The Democratic chairmen of three House committees investigating President Trump released dozens of text messages late Thursday from top State Department officials handling European and Ukrainian affairs.

Updated at 1:38 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has publicly acknowledged that he was listening to the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that has sparked an impeachment inquiry.

"I was on the phone call," Pompeo said Wednesday in Rome.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

At a press conference at the United Nations last week, President Donald Trump accused Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of being too busy on an impeachment "witch-hunt" to work with him on gun control. 

"Chris Murphy who've I've been dealing with on guns," President Trump said in his speech. "So nice and always, 'No, we want to work it out, we want to work it out.' But they're too busy wasting their time on the witch-hunt."

But Murphy says the White House still wants him at the negotiating table.

Updated 3:45 E.T. Sunday

The rapidly unfolding Ukraine scandal has kicked impeachment investigations into high gear, with Democratic leaders in Congress now saying it will take just a number of weeks to consolidate findings from multiple House committees.

"This is not going to require months and months and months of hearings," says Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who spoke with NPR on Saturday.

Well, that escalated quickly.

At the beginning of this week, it wasn't at all clear that the country was heading toward another impeachment investigation, 21 years after Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Democratic President Bill Clinton.

A tumultuous week in Washington has set the stage for an intense new congressional investigation into President Trump — and what could prove to be a historic clash between the White House and Congress.

The outlines are now clear about conduct that no one, including Trump, disputes: The president asked his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the family of Vice President Joe Biden, a potential political rival in the 2020 presidential election.

Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET

The nation's top spy told lawmakers on Thursday that he supports the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the Ukraine affair but said he struggled to deal with how to handle the case inside the Trump administration.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told the House intelligence committee in an open hearing that he believed the whistleblower and the spy world's inspector general had acted in good faith and that he has tried to handle a unique situation as best he could.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump told Ukraine's president that "a lot of people want to find out" about the activities of former Vice President Joe Biden's family in Ukraine and asked its leader to be in touch with lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr.

That's according to a briefing for correspondents about the contents of the July 25 phone call, on Wednesday at the Justice Department.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

President Trump said Wednesday that the push for his impeachment is a "hoax," again denying any wrongdoing during a July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during which he pushed for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 rival.

"No push, no pressure, no nothing — it's all a hoax, folks. It's all a big hoax," Trump said.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

President Trump vowed on Tuesday that he will release a transcript of his phone call from earlier this year with Ukraine's president.

The July 25 call is at the heart of a rapidly intensifying controversy over whether Trump improperly pressured another country to investigate a political opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

A phone conversation between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine about former Vice President Joe Biden has sparked outrage from some U.S. lawmakers and amplified calls for Trump’s impeachment. This hour, Connecticut U.S. Rep. Jim Himes joins us to weigh in on this unfolding situation. 

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea is an "outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory," says U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, calling it "another reckless Russian escalation" in a deadly and years-long conflict.

"In the name of international peace and security, Russia must immediately cease its unlawful conduct and respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all states," Haley said, speaking at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council late Monday morning.

Updated at 2:04 p.m. ET

A U.S. political lobbyist with links to Paul Manafort pleaded guilty Friday to violating foreign lobbying laws for work he did on behalf of a Ukrainian political party.

W. Samuel Patten appeared in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where he entered a guilty plea to one count of failing to register as a foreign agent. He has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, who can request a reduced sentenced for Patten.

No sentencing date has been set.

Olga Zakrevska / dahkabrahka.com

The Ukrainian world music quartet DakhaBrakha combines rhythms and instruments from several continents with folk music from their native country. The group is scheduled to stop in Connecticut on Thursday for a performance.

The chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign says he never received a single off-the-books cash payment for political work in Ukraine.

The statement from campaign chairman Paul Manafort comes after The New York Times reported that his name appears in a so-called "black ledger" recording under-the-table payments made by the political party of Ukraine's former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Sean Scanlon / Office of Sen. Chris Murphy

Ukrainian Americans, many with family members still living in the country, packed Hartford's Ukrainian National Home for the town hall meeting about the situation in the Eastern European country.

In a claim that's meeting with skepticism in Kiev, Russian-backed separatists say they've started to withdraw heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, as required by a recent cease-fire. Ukraine's military says separatist attacks are ongoing.

The development comes after Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he thinks a war with Ukraine would be "apocalyptic" — but that the area is now on a path to stability, after the recent Minsk agreement.

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