Trump's behaviour worse than Nixon: Head of impeachment probe

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Nov 22, 2019, 07.59 AM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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Lawmakers are investigating whether Trump misused his office by bullying Ukraine into helping with his reelection aspirations

According to the head of the congressional impeachment probe, the behaviour exhibited by Donald Trump in respect to Ukraine was far worse than what led to Richard Nixon's downfall.

Lawmakers are investigating whether Trump misused his office by bullying Ukraine into helping with his reelection aspirations. The testimonies, as part of the hearing, have become more explosive in the last three days. 

The Democrats based their accusation on a phone call from Trump to Zelensky on July 25, and help from accomplices, especially senior leaders within the administration.

"People look to us from all over the world," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said. "People in Ukraine who want a better future, they look to us''.

"They still look to us and increasingly they don't recognise what they see... That is a terrible tragedy for us but it is a greater tragedy for the rest of the world," the Schiff added.

Allegedly, Trump stalled $400 million worth of military aid to Ukraine in order to coerce Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into helping. Kiev's stressful relationships with Russia were a contributing factor. 

Trump also pushed Zelensky to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

"In my view, there is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law," Schiff said.

Watch: Will US President Donald Trump be impeached?

According to Democrats, the plan would have materialised seamlessly if it weren't for a whistleblower whose complaint about the July call reached Congress on September 9, ensuring the aid was handed over two days later.

"What we've seen here is far more serious than a third-rate burglary of the Democratic headquarters," said Schiff, referring to the infamous 1972 Watergate break-in that Nixon ordered, eventually leading to his resignation.

"What we're talking about here is the withholding of recognition in that White House meeting (and) the withholding of military aid to an ally at war. This is beyond anything Nixon did."

Nixon resigned in 1974, two years after the burglary of Democratic offices in the Watergate complex in Washington.

(With inputs from AFP)