Contains selective news articles I select

Archive for October, 2019

UK’s party leaders brace for Brexit election

October 30, 2019

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn were set to trade barbs over Brexit and public spending Wednesday when they face off in Parliament for the last time before a Dec. 12 general election.

The House of Commons on Tuesday approved an early election in hopes of breaking the deadlock over Britain’s departure from the European Union. While Johnson’s Conservative Party has a wide lead in opinion polls, analysts say the election is unpredictable because Brexit cuts across traditional party loyalties.

Johnson and Corbyn will trade carefully crafted quips when they face off in their regularly scheduled question-and-answer session. This will be the last episode of Prime Minister’s Questions before Parliament is suspended for the election.

Johnson has told Conservative lawmakers this will be a “tough election.” After three years of inconclusive political wrangling over Brexit, British voters are weary and the results of an election are hard to predict.

The House of Commons voted 438-20 on Tuesday night — with dozens of lawmakers abstaining — for a bill authorizing an election on Dec. 12. It will become law once it is approved Wednesday by the unelected House of Lords, which doesn’t have the power to overrule the elected Commons.

The looming vote comes two and a half years before the next scheduled election, due in 2022, and will be the country’s first December election since 1923. Meanwhile, the Brexit conundrum remains unsolved — and the clock is ticking down to the new deadline of Jan. 31.

“To my British friends,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted Tuesday. “The EU27 has formally adopted the extension. It may be the last one. Please make the best use of this time.”

December election? UK ponders early, Brexit-dominated vote

October 29, 2019

LONDON (AP) — Britain appeared on course Tuesday for an early general election that could break the country’s political deadlock over Brexit, after the main opposition Labor Party said it would agree to the government’s request to send voters to the polls in December.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a Dec 12 election in hopes of breaking the Parliamentary stalemate that blocked his plan to take Britain out of the European Union this month. Earlier this week, the EU granted Britain a three-month Brexit extension until Jan. 31.

Johnson — who has had to abandon his vow to lead Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 “do or die” — accused his opponents of wanting to prolong the Brexit process “until the 12th of never.” He told lawmakers in Parliament on Tuesday there was no choice but “to go to the country to break free from this impasse.”

“There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism, this endless, willful, fingers crossed, ‘not me guv’ refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people — and that is to refresh this Parliament and give the people a choice,” Johnson said.

For weeks, opposition parties have defeated Johnson’s attempts to trigger an election. But now that Brexit has been delayed, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn said his opposition party would vote in favor of an early election because the prospect that Britain could crash out of the EU without a divorce deal had been taken off the table.

“I’ve said consistently, when no-deal is off the table we will back an election,” Corbyn said. “Today, after much denial and much bluster by the prime minister, that deal is officially off the table, so this country can vote for the government that it deserves.”

Labor’s shift means the U.K. is likely headed for its first December election since 1923. As it stands, Britain is not scheduled to hold a general election until 2022. On Monday, Johnson proposed a Dec. 12 election under a different procedure that required a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons but lawmakers voted it down — Johnson’s third such defeat.

The House of Commons was scheduled to vote later Tuesday on a government bill calling for a Dec. 12 election. Unlike Monday’s vote, it only needs a simple majority to pass. Corbyn’s support means it’s likely to succeed, although opposition politicians could press the government to alter the date by a day or two.

The Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party have proposed an earlier election date of Dec. 9 to reduce the possibility that Johnson could try to pass his EU divorce bill — which would allow Britain to leave the bloc and hand Johnson a major political achievement — before the campaign begins.

“It cannot be the 12th,” said Liberal Democrat lawmaker Chuka Ummuna, who suggested his party could accept a compromise date of Dec. 10 or 11. “We will see what else they come forward with,” he said. “We have got to break the gridlock.”

A last-minute obstacle emerged when opposition parties announced plans to try to amend the terms of an early election to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 and expand the voting base to include citizens of the 27 other EU nations who are living in Britain.

It’s unclear whether those amendments will be put to a vote. But the government said if they were, and they passed, it might withdraw its bill altogether. Johnson took office in July vowing to “get Brexit done” after his predecessor, Theresa May, resigned in defeat. But the Conservative leader, who said just weeks ago that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than postpone the Oct. 31 Brexit date, was forced by Parliament to seek the extension in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would damage the economies of both Britain and the EU.

Johnson plans to campaign as a leader who has a viable, strong Brexit plan for the country but who has been stymied by an anti-democratic opposition and a bureaucratic EU. On Tuesday, he accused opponents of betraying voters’ decision to leave the EU. He declared that without an early election, the British government would be like the cartoon character Charlie Brown, “endlessly running up to kick the ball only to have Parliament whisk it away.”

An election is a risk, though, not only for Johnson’s Conservatives but also for Labor. Opinion polls currently give Johnson’s Conservatives a lead over Labor, but there’s a strong chance that an election could produce a Parliament as divided over Brexit as the current one. And the last time a Conservative government called an early election, in 2017, it backfired, and the party lost its majority in Parliament.

Voters are wary of politicians from all sides after more than three years of Brexit drama, and all the parties are worried about a backlash from grumpy voters asked to go to the polls at the darkest, coldest time of the year.

“We all know that a poll in December is less than ideal,” said Pete Wishart, a lawmaker with the opposition Scottish National Party. “But it is worth that risk in order that we remove this prime minister.”

UK moves closer to December election for 1st time since 1923

October 29, 2019

LONDON (AP) — The leader of the U.K.’s opposition Labor Party told fellow lawmakers Tuesday that he’ll back an early election for Britain now that the prospect of crashing out of the European Union without a deal has been taken off the table.

The move by Jeremy Corbyn pushes the country closer to its first December election since 1923. Corbyn’s remarks came only hours before Prime Minister Boris Johnson was set to ask lawmakers for a fourth time to approve an early election, saying voters must have the chance to break the Brexit deadlock in Parliament.

“We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to Jan. 31 has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking no-deal off the table has now been met,” Corbyn said. “We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.”

In an effort to blunt opposition to an early vote, the government said Monday it would delay further consideration of the EU divorce deal until after the election, which the government wants to hold on Dec. 12.

Johnson on Monday had accused opponents of betraying voters’ decision to leave the EU and said that without an early election, the government would be like Charlie Brown, “endlessly running up to kick the ball only to have Parliament whisk it away.”

“We cannot continue with this endless delay,” he said. Two opposition parties, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party, had proposed an even earlier election date in hopes that there wouldn’t be enough time for the government to push through its Brexit bill before Parliament is suspended ahead of the election. The two parties said they will consider Johnson’s latest proposal, though they still prefer a Dec. 9 date.

“It cannot be the 12th,” said Liberal Democrat lawmaker Chuka Ummuna, who suggested his party could accept a compromise date of Dec. 10 or 11. “We will see what else they come forward with,” he said. “We have got to break the gridlock.”

However, it is possible that amendments to the bill could see the date move yet again. Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted with tongue in cheek: “Hang on, I don’t think Corbyn has specified which Christmas….”

Johnson took office in July vowing to “get Brexit done” after his predecessor, Theresa May, resigned in defeat. Parliament had rejected her divorce deal three times, and the EU had delayed Britain’s scheduled March 29 departure, first to April, and then to the end of October.

The EU on Monday agreed to extend the Brexit deadline for a third time, this time until Jan. 31. Johnson, who said just weeks ago that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than postpone the U.K.’s leaving date past Oct. 31, was forced to seek the extension on Parliament’s orders to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would damage the economies of both Britain and the EU.

Afghan presidential polls close amid allegations of fraud

September 28, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s presidential polls closed Saturday amid fears that accusations of fraud and misconduct could overwhelm any election results, while insurgent attacks aimed at disrupting voting in the country’s north and south caused dozens of casualties.

An upsurge in violence in the run-up to the elections, following the collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks to end America’s longest war, had already rattled Afghanistan in the past weeks. Yet on Saturday, many voters expressed equal fear and frustration over relentless government corruption and the widespread chaos at polling stations.

A deeply flawed election and contested result could drive the war-weary country into chaos. Many Afghans found incomplete voters’ lists, unworkable biometric identification systems aimed at curbing fraud, and in some cases hostile election workers.

Ruhollah Nawroz, a representative of the Independent Complaints Commission tasked with monitoring the process, said the problems are countrywide. Nawroz said he arrived at a polling center in the Taimani neighborhood of Kabul, the capital, at 6 a.m. and “hour by hour I was facing problems.”

Polls opened at 7 a.m. local time and closed at 5 p.m. after the Independent Election Commission (IEC) extended polling by one hour. Preliminary results won’t be out until Oct. 17, with a final vote count on Nov. 7. If no candidate wins 51 percent of the vote, a second round will be held between the two leading candidates.

Voter Hajji Faqir Bohman, who was speaking on behalf of disgruntled voters at the Taimani polling center, said the polling was so disorganized and flawed that even if his candidate wins “I will never believe that it was a fair election.”

The leading contenders are incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his partner in the five-year-old unity government, Abdullah Abdullah, who already alleges power abuse by his opponent. Cameras crowded both men as they cast their vote earlier in Kabul, with Ghani telling voters they too had a responsibility to call out instances of fraud.

A young woman, Shabnam Rezayee, was attacked by an election worker after insisting on seeing the voter’s list when she was told her name was not on the list. Rezayee said the worker hurled abuses at her, directing her insults at her ethnicity. She then punched and scratched her.

When it ended and the attacker left, Rezayee found her name on the list and voted. “I am very strong,” she said. In Kabul, turnout was sporadic and in the morning hours it was rare to see a crowded polling center. Afghans who had patiently lined up before the voting centers were opened, entered in some locations to find that election officials had yet to arrive by opening time.

Imam Baksh, who works as a security guard, said he wasn’t worried about his safety as he stood waiting to mark his ballot, wondering whom he would vote for. “All of them have been so disappointing for our country,” he said.

The government’s push to hold the vote was in itself controversial. In an interview with The Associated Press last week, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who still wields heavy influence, warned that the vote could be destabilizing for the country at a time of deep political uncertainty and hinder restarting the peace process with the Taliban.

On Saturday, one of the first reports of violence came from southern Afghanistan, the former spiritual heartland of the Taliban. A bomb attack on a local mosque where a polling station was located wounded 15 people, a doctor at the main hospital in the city of Kandahar said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak with the media.

The wounded included a police officer and several election officials, along with voters. Three were in critical condition. In northern Kunduz, where Taliban have previously threatened the city — even briefly taking control of some areas — insurgents fired mortar rounds into the municipality and attacked Afghan security forces on its outskirts, said Ghulam Rabani Rabani, a council member for the province.

Rabani said the attacks are to “frighten people and force them to stay in their homes and not participate in the election.” He said ongoing fighting has wounded as many as 40 people. Tens of thousands of police, intelligence officials and Afghan National Army personnel were deployed throughout the country to protect the 4,942 election centers. Authorities said 431 polling centers will stay closed because it was impossible to guarantee their security since they were either in areas under Taliban control or where insurgents could threaten nearby villages.

At one polling station in Kabul’s well-to-do Shahr-e-Now neighborhood, election workers struggled with biometric machines as well as finding names on voters’ lists. Ahmad Shah, 32, cast his vote, but said the election worker forgot to ink his finger — which is mandatory to prevent multiple voting by the same person.

“What sort of system is this?” he asked, frustrated that he had risked his safety to vote and expressed fear that fraud will mar the election results. “It’s a mess.” Still, 63-year old Ahmad Khan urged people to vote.

“It is the only way to show the Taliban we are not afraid of them,” he said, though he too worried at the apparent glitches in the process. In Kabul traffic was light, with police and the army scattered throughout the city, stopping cars and looking for anything out of the ordinary. Larger vehicles were not being allowed into the capital on Saturday, which is normally a working day but for the elections was declared a holiday.

Campaigning for Saturday’s elections was subdued and went into high gear barely two weeks ahead of the polls as most of the 18 presidential candidates expected a deal between the United States and the Taliban to delay the vote. But on Sept. 7, President Donald Trump declared a deal that seemed imminent dead after violent attacks in Kabul killed 12 people, including two U.S.-led coalition soldiers, one of whom was American.

While many of the presidential candidates withdrew from the election, none formally did so, leaving all 18 candidates on the ballot. Elections in Afghanistan are notoriously flawed and in the last presidential polls in 2014, allegations of widespread corruption were so massive that the United States intervened to prevent violence. No winner was declared and the U.S. cobbled together the unity government in which Ghani and Abdullah shared equal power — Ghani as president and Abdullah as chief executive, a newly created position.

Constant bickering and infighting within the government frustrated attempts to bring in substantive legislation as security, which has been tenuous, continued to deteriorate, frustrating Afghans and causing many to flee as refugees.

Neighboring Pakistan, routinely accused of aiding insurgents, said it was re-opening its borders with Afghanistan after receiving a request from the Afghan defense minister to allow Afghans to return home to vote. Pakistan had announced the border would be closed Saturday and Sunday.

Associated Press writer Mukhtar Amiri in Kabul, Afghanistan contributed to this report.

Afghans vote for president amid Taliban threats, fraud fears

September 28, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans headed to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president amid high security and Taliban threats to disrupt the elections, with the rebels warning citizens to stay home or risk being hurt.

Still at some polling stations in the capital voters lined up even before the centers opened, while in others election workers had yet to arrive by poll opening time. Imam Baksh, who works as a security guard, said he wasn’t worried about his safety as he stood waiting to mark his ballot, wondering who he would vote for.

“All of them have been so disappointing for our country,” he said. The leading contenders are incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and his partner in the 5-year-old unity government, Abdullah Abdullah, who already alleges power abuse by his opponent. Cameras crowded both men as they cast their vote, with Ghani telling voters they too had a responsibility to call out instances of fraud.

Fear and frustration at the relentless corruption that has characterized successive governments ranks high among the concerns of Afghanistan’s 9.6 million eligible voters. Even in the early hours of voting, complaints had begun to be raised such as polling stations in the posh Wazir Akbar region opening late and biometric machines, aimed at curbing fraud, not working.

In the northern Taimani neighborhood of mostly ethnic Hazaras, two-thirds of the voting registration papers had yet to arrive and angry voters were told their names were not on the list. Abdul Ghafoor, who spoke on behalf of dozens of men waiting to cast their ballot, said that of about 3,000 registered voters only 400 appeared on the list that had arrived at the center.

Ghafoor said he was told to return at 2 p.m. and that he would be allowed to vote even if his name was not on the list and without using the biometric machine. “But how can they do this? My vote won’t count if I am not on a list,” he said.

In Khoja Ali Mohfaq Herawi mosque in Kabul’s well-to-do Shahr-e-Now neighborhood, election workers struggled with biometric machines as well as finding names on voters’ lists. Ahmad Shah, 32, cast his vote, but said the election worker forgot to ink his finger — which is mandatory to prevent multiple voting by the same person.

“What sort of system is this?” he asked, frustrated that he had risked his safety to vote and expressed fear that fraud will mar the election results. “It’s a mess.” Still, 63-year old Ahmad Khan urged people to vote.

“It is the only way to show the Taliban we are not afraid of them,” he said, though he too worried at the apparent glitches in the process. Tens of thousands of police, intelligence officials and Afghan National Army personnel have been deployed throughout the country to protect the 4,942 election centers. Authorities said 431 polling centers will stay closed because it was impossible to guarantee their security since they were either in areas under Taliban control or where insurgents could threaten nearby villages.

In Kabul traffic was light, with police and the army scattered throughout the city, stopping cars and looking for anything out of the ordinary. The Taliban said they would take particular aim at Afghanistan’s cities.

Outfitted in bullet-proof vests, their rifles by their side, soldiers slowed traffic to a crawl as they searched vehicles. Larger vehicles were not being allowed into the capital on Saturday, which is a usual working day but for the elections was declared a holiday.

Neighbor Pakistan, routinely accused of aiding insurgents, announced it was closing its borders with Afghanistan Saturday and Sunday to further protect security in the war-weary country. Campaigning for Saturday’s elections was subdued and went into high gear barely two weeks ahead of the polls as most of the 18 presidential candidates expected a deal between the United States and the Taliban to delay the vote. But on Sept. 7, President Donald Trump declared a deal that seemed imminent dead after violent attacks in Kabul killed 12 people, including two U.S.-led coalition soldiers, one of whom was American.

While many of the presidential candidates withdrew from the election, none formally did so, leaving all 18 candidates on the ballot. Elections in Afghanistan are notoriously flawed and in the last presidential polls in 2014, allegations of widespread corruption were so massive that the United States intervened to prevent violence. No winner was declared and the U.S. cobbled together the unity government in which Ghani and Abdullah shared equal power — Ghani as president and Abdullah as chief executive, a newly created position.

Constant bickering and infighting within the government frustrated attempts to bring in substantive legislation as security, which has been tenuous, continued to deteriorate, frustrating Afghans and causing many to flee as refugees.

Associated Press writer Mukhtar Amiri contributed to this report.

Bolton summoned; 1st big vote set on impeachment probe

October 31, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — House investigators are asking former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in their impeachment inquiry, deepening their reach into the White House as the probe accelerates toward a potential vote to remove the president.

Democratic lawmakers want to hear next week from Bolton, the hawkish former adviser who openly sparred over the administration’s approach to Ukraine — in particular, President Donald Trump’s reliance on his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for a back-channel operation. Bolton once derided Giuliani’s work as a “drug deal” and said he wanted no part of it, according to previous testimony.

Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, said Wednesday evening that his client would not appear without a subpoena. The Democrats are also calling John Eisenberg, the lawyer for the NSC who fielded an Army officer’s concerns over Trump’s phone call with the Ukraine president, and Michael Ellis, another security council official, according to a person familiar with the invitation and granted anonymity to discuss it.

The rush of possible new witnesses comes as the House prepares to take its first official vote Thursday on the process ahead. That includes public hearings in a matter of weeks and the possibility of drafting articles of impeachment against the president.

The White House has urged officials not to testify in the impeachment proceedings, and it’s not guaranteed that those called will appear for depositions, even if they receive subpoenas as previous witnesses have.

Bolton’s former deputy, Charles Kupperman, has filed a lawsuit in federal court asking a judge to resolve the question of whether he can be forced to testify since he was a close and frequent adviser to the president. Any ruling in that case could presumably have an impact on whether Bolton will testify. A status conference in that case was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill say the entire impeachment inquiry is illegitimate and are unpersuaded by the House resolution formally setting out next steps. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the format for the impeachment probe denies Trump the “most basic rights of due process.”

Now in its second month, the investigation is focused on Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine when he asked President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democrats and a potential 2020 political rival, Joe Biden, as the White House was withholding military aid Ukraine relies on for its defenses. Democrats contend Trump was proposing a quid-pro-quo arrangement.

On Thursday, the investigators are to hear from Tim Morrison, a former top GOP aide on Capitol Hill, who served at Trump’s National Security Council and was among those likely monitoring the president’s call with Ukraine.

Late Wednesday, it was disclosed that Morrison was resigning his White House position. He has been a central figure in other testimony about Trump’s dealing with Ukraine. Earlier in the day, the Democratic and Republican House lawmakers heard fresh testimony about the Trump administration’s unusual back channels to Ukraine.

Two State Department Ukraine experts offered new accounts of Trump’s reliance on Giuliani rather than career diplomats to engage with the East European ally, a struggling democracy facing aggression from Russia.

Foreign Service officer Christopher Anderson testified that Bolton cautioned him that Giuliani “was a key voice with the president on Ukraine” and could complicate U.S. goals for the country. Another Foreign Service officer, Catherine Croft, said that during her time at Trump’s National Security Council, she received “multiple” phone calls from lobbyist Robert Livingston — a former top Republican lawmaker once in line to become House speaker — telling her the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, should be fired.

“It was not clear to me at the time — or now — at whose direction or at whose expense Mr. Livingston was seeking the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch,” she said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press.

Livingston characterized Yovanovitch as an “‘Obama holdover’ and associated with George Soros,” she said, referring to the American financier who is often the subject of conservative criticism in the U.S. and Europe.

Most Democrats are expected to support the formal impeachment investigation resolution Thursday, even if they don’t back impeachment itself, saying they are in favor of opening the process with more formal procedures.

Public hearings are expected to begin in mid-November, a matter of weeks. Democrats are eager to hear from some top witnesses who have already provided compelling testimony behind closed doors, including diplomat William Taylor, a top ambassador in Ukraine, and Alexander Vindman, the Army officer who testified Tuesday that he twice reported to superiors, including Eisenberg, his concerns about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

Vindman is willing to testify publicly, according to a person familiar with the situation and granted anonymity Wednesday to discuss it. At Trump’s hotel in Washington, during a fundraiser for House Republicans and lengthy dinner afterward with GOP leaders, the president indicated he was prepared for the fight ahead, said those familiar with the private gatherings Tuesday night.

“He’s a tough guy,” said Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the GOP whip. Both career diplomats testifying Wednesday had served as top aides to the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who was the first to testify in the impeachment inquiry and whose cache of text messages provided key insight into Trump’s demands on the new Ukraine president.

Croft, who testified for nearly five hours, described being told at an administration meeting that security funds for Ukraine were being put on hold “at the direction of the president,” corroborating other accounts that have been provided to investigators.

In his opening statement, Anderson traced his unease with developments that he felt threatened to set back relations between the U.S. and Ukraine. He told investigators that senior White House officials blocked an effort by the State Department to release a November 2018 statement condemning Russia’s attack on Ukrainian military vessels.

Both witnesses were instructed by the administration to not testify but appeared in response to subpoenas from the House, according to a statement from their attorney Mark MacDougall. The lawyer told lawmakers that neither of his clients is the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry and that he would object to any questions aimed at identifying that person.

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Padmananda Rama, Matthew Daly and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Envoy for North Korea expected to get No. 2 State Dept. job

October 28, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is expected to be nominated as early as this week to be second-in-command at the State Department, officials said Monday. Two Trump administration officials and a congressional aide familiar with the selection process said the White House is expected to nominate Biegun to be the next deputy secretary of state in the coming days. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Biegun would replace John Sullivan, who has been nominated to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia. Both positions require Senate confirmation. Biegun has had a prominent role in the delicate negotiations that led to historic meetings between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A former Ford Motor Co. executive who served in previous Republican administrations and has advised GOP lawmakers, Biegun has led as yet unsuccessful negotiations to get North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons since being appointed to his current post in August 2018. He is expected to keep the North Korea portfolio if he is confirmed to the new post, the officials said.

His nomination has been expected since mid-September, but its timing has been unclear amid turmoil in the State Department over the House impeachment inquiry into the administration’s policy toward Ukraine.

Sullivan was nominated to be envoy to Moscow in September although his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was just set for Wednesday, making Biegun’s nomination to fill the soon-to-be vacant No. 2 spot at the State Department more urgent.

Sullivan’s confirmation hearing is likely to be dominated by questions from committee Democrats about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and his role in Ukraine policy. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified to impeachment investigators earlier the month that Sullivan was the official who informed her that she had lost Trump’s confidence and was being recalled early from Kyiv. Democrats are expected to use Wednesday’s confirmation hearing to press Sullivan on the extent of his involvement in Ukraine and why the department bowed to a campaign to oust Yovanovitch spearheaded by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Tag Cloud