Trump news: President's Ukraine call was part of 'illicit and corrupt scheme', released testimonies say

Joe Sommerlad, Alex Woodward
Donald Trump tells a reporter to be quiet as he speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Friday 8 November 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland and then on to Georgia to meet with supporters: Andrew Harnik/AP

Before public hearings begin in the impeachment investigation into Donald Trump, recently released transcripts of testimonies from two key witnesses offer a more complete picture of the president's dealings with Ukraine and the role of his attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Lt Col Alexander Vindman testified that "no doubt" the president was asking for investigations into his political rivals, and Fiona Hill warned that Mr Giuliani was peddling conspiracy theories to Mr Trump that could make US elections in 2020 vulnerable to Russian influence.

Mr Trump told reporters at the White House he is considering Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend Moscow’s Victory Day parade and is planning to release a new transcript of an earlier call with Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in an attempt to clear his name with the House impeachment inquiry ongoing.

As the president’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney failed to show up for his deposition to the inquiry despite being issued with a subpoena late on Thursday, Democratic congressman Danny Heck has dismissed the significance of the White House’s refusal to co-operate, saying the panel has already amassed “a mountain of evidence” against the president.

Steve Bannon, Mr Trump's former White House chief strategist and a key figure in his campaign, testified in the trial of Roger Stone that Mr Stone was the campaign's "access point" for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

But Mr Bannon did not say whether the president had actually ever relied on Mr Stone to deliver information from the organisation. He believes Mr Stone knew about Hillary Clinton's campaign emails that WikiLeaks planned to release.

Mr Stone is on trial for witness tampering and lying to Congress about his role in the WikiLeaks scandal, which prosecutors argue Mr Stone had arranged to deliver information on Mr Trump's political rivals in order to protect the president.

Meanwhile, the latest excerpts from A Warning, the new book by an anonymous administration insider, has revealed Mr Trump’s senior staff once considered resigning en masse in response to the president’s behaviour, which the mystery author characterises as volatile and incompetent.

The president ended his week announcing plans to take his tax case to the Supreme Court, which will decide whether take up Mr Trump's attempt to block a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney seeking his tax records.

Follow along as it happened in our liveblog.

Read more

What will Trump's controversial personal pastor bring to White House?

Roger Stone 'was Trump's access point' to WikiLeaks

Trump says he's 'thinking about' attending Russia's May Day parade

Trump's former Russia adviser 'shocked' at 'nightmare' Ukraine call

Ukraine expert's testimony in Trump impeachment inquiry released