Impeachment watch: Ukraine president tells Trump to stop calling his country corrupt

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Volodomyr Zelenskiy said Trump's blocking of aid to his country was not fair and that Trump's bashing of Ukraine as 'corrupt' is unhelpful to ending its war with Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy has broken his silence about how Donald Trump is impacting his country's desire to break free from Russian aggression, saying that Trump's freeze in military aid to Ukraine and continued bashing of Ukraine as a "corrupt" country is unhelpful.

In an interview with Time magazine, Zelenskiy said Trump's talk of Ukrainian corruption could hinder its ability to get financial assistance from other western democracies.

Zelenskiy told Time:

"The United States of America is a signal, for the world, for everyone. When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals. It might seem like an easy thing to say, that combination of words: Ukraine is a corrupt country. Just to say it and that’s it. But it doesn't end there. Everyone hears that signal. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have international capital in Ukraine, it's a signal to them that says, 'Be careful, don't invest.'"

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He went on to say that Trump's blocking of aid to Ukraine — which is now at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry — was also wrong.

"If you're our strategic partner, then you can't go blocking anything for us," Zelenskiy told Time. "I think that's just about fairness. It's not about a quid pro quo."

House Republicans who attempted to defend Trump during the impeachment inquiry have used Zelenskiy as a shield to try to protect Trump from impeachment.

They said that if Zelenskiy didn't feel pressure to announce investigations into Trump's political rivals, then Trump's actions don't warrant impeachment.

However, Zelenskiy's interview with Time shows that he was and continues to walk a tightrope with Trump as he seeks help from the United States. Given that Trump has turned on people who criticize him, Zelenskiy is in a tough position for speaking his mind, which could lose him Trump's support. It's a point Democrats made during the impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee.

Here's what else is happening in impeachment news:

  • The House Intelligence Committee is expected to release its report on its recommendation for impeachment after wrapping public hearings with key fact witnesses before the Thanksgiving recess. Lawmakers will get a chance to read the report starting Monday, before holding a vote on Tuesday to approve the findings, Politico reported.
  • Now that the House Intelligence Committee has wrapped its portion of the impeachment proceedings, the process now moves to the House Judiciary Committee, which will hold its first public hearing on Wednesday. Trump's legal team was invited to join the Judiciary Committee hearings. However, even though Trump complained that it was unfair that he had no representation in the intelligence committee's proceedings, his legal team does not plan to participate in the judiciary committee hearings, according to Politico.

Come back tomorrow for more impeachment news.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.