Impeachment: The Allegations Against US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House by Marine One, in Washington, DC, November 3, 2019, after returning from a trip to New York. Olivier Douliery / AFP

 

The impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump in the US House of Representatives moves to public hearings on Wednesday.

Trump is threatened with removal from office over allegations that he abused his powers and broke the law by pressuring Ukraine to supply damaging information on rival Democrats and possible 2020 presidential election challenger Joe Biden.

The evidence covers a series of events from April 2019 when Zelensky was elected, and both sides sought to reboot Washington-Kiev relations. Zelensky sought aid and a meeting with the US leader; Trump sought “investigations.”

Giuliani machinations

Trump gave the Ukraine leader a congratulatory phone call on April 19. Days later, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said online and in public that the US wanted Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the energy company on whose board Biden’s son Hunter served for five years until April 2019.

Giuliani also called for an investigation into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine helped the Democrats against Trump in the 2016 election.

“Explain to me why Biden shouldn’t be investigated if his son got millions from a Russian loving crooked Ukrainian oligarch while He was VP and point man for Ukraine,” Giuliani tweeted on May 10.

Giuliani’s immediate impact was in getting Trump to remove US ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had resisted Giuliani’s involvement in Ukraine policy.

Another result: Trump told Vice President Mike Pence not to attend Zelensky’s May 14 inauguration, sending Energy Secretary Rick Perry instead. According to a whistleblower complaint in August, that downgrade was meant to signal to the new government that Trump wanted the investigations.

July 10 meeting

In a July 10 meeting in the office of White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, told Ukrainian officials that a high profile meeting they sought between Zelensky and Trump was contingent on “investigations in the energy sector” and later referenced “Burisma”.

Sondland told the Ukrainians the alleged quid pro quo was authorized by Trump’s right-hand man, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

“We have an agreement with the chief of staff for a meeting if these investigations in the energy sector start,” Sondland told the Ukrainians, according to witnesses.

Bolton, who objected to the linkage, immediately cut the meeting short, but Sondland continued to make the point in a subsequent meeting, witnesses said.

Aid suspension

On July 19 Mulvaney, who also heads the White House budget office, froze a military aid package for Ukraine worth $391 million dollars. He told budget officials it was at the order of Trump, but did not explain the reason. But in October Mulvaney told reporters it was linked to investigations, and said there was nothing wrong with the quid pro quo.

July 25 phone call

On July 25 Trump spoke again by phone with Zelensky. According to a rough summary of the call released by the White House, he made clear he wanted Ukraine to open the investigations, and hinted at the linkage with assistance and a face-to-face meeting.

“I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it,” Trump said.

Trump made direct reference to the story that Ukraine interferred in the 2016 election helping rival Democrats.

“I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation,” Trump said. “It’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.”

Trump added that “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son… A lot of people want to find out about that,” he said, proposing Kiev cooperate with US Attorney General Bill Barr.

“The United States has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine.”

Text messages

After the July 25 call, Sondland pressed on Kiev the need for investigations. Text messages between Sondland and other US diplomats show he was focused on Trump’s insistence on “the deliverable” — the investigations as a quid pro quo for the military aid.

“I think potus (Trump) really wants the deliverable,” he wrote on August 9.

In August he helped arrange a prepared statement for Zelensky to deliver that would satisfy Trump.

The statement, according to a August 13 text, was to read: “We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 US elections, which in turn will prevent the recurrence of this problem in the future.”

Seeing that, Sondland wrote: “Perfect.”

That statement was never delivered. On September 1 Sondland told Zelensky advisor Andriy Yermak that military aid would not be released until Kiev signalled the investigations into Biden and 2016.

Prosecutors Re-Arrest Ghosn On New Allegations

Former Nissan Motors Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn speaks during the company’s financial results press conference in Yokohama. Toshifumi KITAMURA / AFP

 

Prosecutors have re-arrested former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn over fresh allegations of breach of trust, local media said Friday, in the latest twist to a rollercoaster saga.

Public broadcaster NHK and local news agency Jiji said Ghosn had been arrested on suspicion of “aggravated breach of trust”, putting into question hopes of a potential early release.

The auto baron had earlier had hopes of being freed on bail after a court rejected a bid by prosecutors to extend his detention over allegations of under-reporting his income by tens of millions of dollars over several years.

This new arrest gives prosecutors 48 hours to question him on the new matter.

Since his arrest last month, the once jet-setting executive has languished in a tiny cell in a detention centre in northern Tokyo, where he has complained about the cold and the rice-based menu.

His lengthy detention — in Japan, suspects can be “re-arrested” several times over different allegations — has sparked criticism, especially from abroad.

AFP

South Korea Admits To Rape Allegations, Apologises 38 Years After

 

South Korea’s defence ministry on Wednesday broke decades of silence to apologise for martial law troops raping women including teenagers when they crushed a pro-democracy uprising in 1980.

Defence minister Jeong Kyeong-doo issued a public apology for the inflicting of “unspeakable, deep scars and pain” on “innocent women” who were raped and subjected to “sex torture” by soldiers cracking down on protests against a military coup by General Chun Doo-hwan.

Demonstrators in the southern city of Gwangju and passers-by were beaten to death, tortured, bayonetted and disembowelled or riddled with bullets.

Conservatives in the South continue to condemn the uprising as a Communist-inspired rebellion.

According to official figures, more than 200 people were left dead or missing, while activists say the toll may have been three times as much.

Chun’s troops were believed to have also carried out widespread sexual assaults against women but the issue has long been swept under the carpet as traumatised victims remained reluctant to come forward.

The mood changed following the election of liberal current President Moon Jae-in, who made uncovering the truth about Gwangju a campaign issue, and when one of the victims was emboldened by South Korea’s growing #MeToo movement.

Protestor Kim Sun-ok told a television interviewer in May that she had been raped by an interrogator in 1980, prompting authorities to launch an investigation that confirmed 17 cases.

“The investigation has confirmed rapes, sexual assaults and sex tortures were committed by martial law troops,” the defence minister said in a statement.

Victims included teenagers and young women, including “young students and a pregnant woman who were not even taking part in the protests”, he told a press conference.

“On behalf of the government and military, I bow deeply and offer my words of apology for the unspeakable, deep scars and pain inflicted on innocent victims,” Jeong said.

But Kim rejected the apology.

“I didn’t listen to it because of my traumatic experience,” she told AFP. “But unless those responsible are brought to justice and duly punished, a million apologies would be meaningless.”

AFP

Offa Bank Robbery: Police Give Saraki 48 Hours To Respond In Writing

Police Reply Senate Again, Fault Lawmakers’ Motive For Inviting IGP
A photo combination of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and IGP Ibrahim Idris.

 

The Nigerian Police Force has asked Senate President Bukola Saraki to respond to allegations linking him to the Offa bank robbery, within 48 hours rather than appearing in person.

The announcement comes minutes after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met behind closed-doors with the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, as well as the head of State Security Service, Lawal Daura, at the State House.

The police had said on Sunday that it would be inviting Saraki as five of the robbery suspects, reported to have confessed to the crime, indicted him.

The five gang leaders had claimed that they were political thugs of the Senate President and the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed.

The Force Spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, in a statement, said the bank robbery led to the death of 33 persons including some pregnant women and nice police officers.

“The Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki is being invited by the Nigeria Police Force to report to the Force Intelligence Response Team office at Guzape, Abuja to answer to the allegations levelled against him from the confessions of the Five (5) Gang Leaders and some of the other 17 suspects arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons which includes some pregnant women and nine Police personnel,” the police statement read in part.

Despite the allegation, the Senate President has denied having any connection with the robbery.

In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki described the allegations as “baseless” and “another ploy by the Police to implicate him by all means”.

According to him, when the incident happened, he was the first top public official to pay a visit to the place after which he also put a call through to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, to make the necessary security arrangements.

Read Also: Police Invite Saraki Over Offa Bank Robbery

He said, “Let it be known that there is no way I could have been associated with armed robbery against my people. When the Offa robbery incident happened, I was the first top public official to pay a visit to the place and right there in the palace of the traditional ruler, I put a call through to this same Mr Ibrahim Idris, the IGP, requesting him to make certain specific security arrangements as demanded by the people.

“Members of the public will remember that on May 16, 2018, I alerted the Senate about the information passed on to me by my State Governor, Dr. Abdulfatai Ahmed, over a plot by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to frame me up by getting some suspected cultists arrested in Ilorin to implicate me.

“It is believed that the timely leakage of the plot, in that case, aborted the use of the suspected cultists to implicate me. Now, it is the Offa bank robbery suspects that are about to be used”.

Speaking further, Saraki said the development was part of plans to embarrass him after the IGP had failed to honour invitations by the National Assembly over the killings across the country.

He, however, insisted that he had no hand in the case but will honour the police invitation when it is formally extended to him.

 

Senate Begins Probe Of IGP Over Corruption Allegations

IGP Deploys Helicopters, Anti-Bomb Sqaud To Kaduna Airport

The Senate has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate allegations of corruption brought against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris.

This committee was set up after the point of order was raised by the lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, Senator Isa Misau.

He has asked the Senate to probe the IGP over alleged corrupt practices and misconduct.

The resolution to set up the committee followed the point of Order by the Senator who informed the Senate that he has been having a running battle with the IGP over his concern on the level of corruption in the Nigeria Police Force.

Angela Uwakwem Is FMC Owerri Medical Director, FG Tells Protesters

FMC Owerri, Angela Uwakwem, ProtestersThe Nigerian Government says it has not found the Medical Director at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, guilty of the allegations levelled against her.

The assertion follows series of protest by health workers and labour unions at the health institution against the recall of Mrs Uwakwem as the substantive Medical Director of FMC Owerri after about 10 months of stepping aside.

The directive for her reinstatement was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

Dr. Ehanire said the recall of Dr. Uwakwem was with immediate effect, adding that the institution’s management would be supported by staff from the Federal Ministry of Health.

A Presidential Directive

Contrary to the claims of the protesters, the Minister argued that her appointment was a presidential issue and her removal could only be done through a presidential directive.

“Should evidence of misconduct be found against her, Dr. Uwakwem will answer for it and face the law as no person shall be protected from justice.

“Since Dr. Uwakwem’s four-year tenure is valid until 2017 and no evidence of misconduct against her was raised by a Ministerial Fact Finding Commission, the Ministry desires rule of law to prevail over mob action,” he stated.

The reinstated medical director told reporters at the Imo State capital that the tenure of the interim management committee had expired and that she had taken over following the Federal Government’s directive.

She reiterated her commitment to ensuring better delivery of healthcare services to the people of the state in southeast Nigeria.

Uwakwem further called on aggrieved workers to cooperate with her for the development of the centre.

However, the union had staged a protest three days ago where they down-tooled and called on the government to reverse its plans to recall Mrs Uwakwem.

While they vowed not to return to work until their demand was met, security operatives have been detailed to the centre to forestall any breakdown of law and order.

On his part, President of the Association of Resident Doctors in Imo State, Dr. Victor Dike, says they are readily available to carry out their services to the public without interruption.

FMC Owerri Workers Protest MD’s Recall

Resident Doctors, FMC Owerri
They warn that the reinstatement of Dr. Uwakwem will lead to chaos

Workers of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri have staged a protest over the recall of the former Medical Director, Angela Uwakwem.

Dr. Uwakwem was earlier asked to step aside over allegations of financial misappropriation.

During the protest on Wednesday, which was carried out by a huge number of workers at the Federal Medical Centre in Owerri, the workers maintained that since the former CMD was relieved, there has been peace in the centre.

They added that any attempt to forcefully bring back Dr. Uwakwem will cause chaos in the centre.

Doctors, nurses, and other workers of the institution in July, 2016, held a similar protest saying since the Interim Management Committee was set up by the government to handle the affairs of the centre, there has been normalcy in the medical institution.

A Presidential Directive

Their protests follows the directive by the Federal Ministry of Health to reinstate the suspended Medical Director.

The directive for her reinstatement is contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, on Wednesday in Abuja.

Dr. Ehanire in statement said the recall of Dr. Uwakwem is with immediate effect adding that the institution’s management would be supported by staff from the ministry.

Contrary to the claims of the protesters, the minister argued that the appointment of the Medical Director of the centre is a presidential issue and her removal can only be done through a presidential directive.

“Should evidence of misconduct be found against her, Dr Uwakwem will answer for it and face the law as no person shall be protected from justice.

“Since Dr Uwakwem’s 4-year tenure is valid until 2017 and no evidence of misconduct against her was raised by a Ministerial fact finding commission, the Ministry desires rule of law to prevail over mob action,” he said.

HOS Orders Perm Sec. To Intiate Disciplinary Actions Against Maina

The Head of the civil service of the federation, Alhaji Isa Bello-Sali has directed the permanent secretary of the ministry of interior to initiate disciplinary actions against Abdulrasheed Maina, a deputy director in the Customs, Immigration and Pensions office under the ministry of interior.

In a statement from the Head of Service signed by the Director, Press and Public Relations; Mr Tope Ajakaiye said following the submission of a report from the Inspector General of Police to the president on the inability to locate Maina, it has become apparent that he has absconded from duty without leave, an action which carries severe penalty with public service rules.

Earlier today, President Jonathan directed the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;  Alhaji Isa Sali, to immediately commence disciplinary action against Alhaji Maina for absconding from duty.

The President through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati stated that Section 030402 of the Federal Government’s Public Service Rules lists Absence from Duty without Leave as an act of Serious Misconduct punishable by dismissal and this was after the Senate on Wednesday threatened a showdown with President Jonathan over the retention of Abdulrasheed Maina as the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team and his repeated refusal to appear before its committee investigating pension administration over allegations of his involvement in a N195 billion pension scam.

The IGP  said in his report that the police has since mounted surveillance at Alhaji Maina’s home and office but has been unable to arrest him because he has gone into hiding and stayed away from both locations since the warrant was issued, leading to his publicly being declared wanted by the Police.

Maina’s Issue Is Beyond Absconding From Duty — Senators

Federal lawmakers have reacted to President Jonathan’s directive that the head of service should commence disciplinary action against the chairman of the pension reform task team; Mr Abdulrasheed Maina for absconding from duty.

Speaking in an interview with Channels Television, a lawmaker representing Kogi State; Senator Smart Adeyemi said although the directive from the presidency is commendable the issue goes beyond absconding from duty.

Senate spokesman, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe also reacting to the president’s directive said the presidency should take another look at the report of the Senate committee investigating pension administration in the country.

The committee in that report which was released in June 2012 recommended the immediate arrest and prosecution of the chairman pension reform task team; Mr Abdulrasheed Maina for fraud and outright stealing of pension funds.