State department officials join impeachment probe of US President Trump

High level state department official participate at the impeachment probe of US President Trump,  the first one to appear this week after several administration officials rejected meeting the  investigators.

David Hale, who was appointed by Trump as under secretary for political affairs, met behind closed doors with lawmakers who are leading the probe of Trump in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

More details in the impeachment inquiry are expected to be released on Wednesday, a day after transcripts revealed a top Trump donor-turned-diplomat reversed course and told investigators Ukrainian aid was tied to investigations of political rivals sought by the U.S. president.

On Tuesday, publicly released transcripts showed U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland had returned to give lawmakers new details after his memory was “refreshed,” corroborating other witnesses who said Trump sought to pressure the Ukrainians into launching investigations that appeared aimed at boosting his 2020 re-election campaign.

House Democrats leading the inquiry are expected to release more transcripts on Wednesday, but have not yet said which accounts they will issue as the fast-moving probe marches towards televised public hearings.

Additional witnesses have also been called to testify, but some are likely to heed the White House and refuse to cooperate in the probe, which centres around Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asking him to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Joe Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to run against Trump, a Republican, in the November 2020 election. Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which had been investigated for corruption. Both have denied any impropriety.

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