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Impeachment: Memo confirms Trump requested Biden investigation

The White House has released details of a July phone conversation that has sparked a US impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump

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According to the memo, Mr. Trump asked the Ukrainian leader to look into corruption claims involving the son of Joe Biden, the president’s possible rival in the 2020 presidential election.

Concerns about the conversation were initially raised by a whistle-blower with the intelligence services.

The Democrats, who control the House where the impeachment inquiry was initiated,  say Mr. Trump sought foreign help to smear a rival.

Two months ago, the president had frozen military aid to Ukraine but he has insisted that this was not used to put pressure on the new government of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

But the July 25 call took place only days after Mr. Trump had directed the US government to withhold about 391 million Dollars in military assistance to Ukraine.

In the summary of the call, Mr. Trump does not tell his Ukrainian counterpart that US aid is premised on him investigating former Vice-President Biden.

However, he emphasizes the importance of US financial support, before pressing Mr. Zelensky for action on the Democratic candidate.

Under the US constitution, a president can be impeached for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours” – a procedure that can lead to removal from office.

If, as expected, the inquiry is completed and an impeachment vote passes in the House, the process of removing the president will almost certainly be stalled in the Senate, where his Republican Party  has a majority.

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