A whistleblower complaint released Thursday shed more light on the circumstances surrounding President Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. It will also give lawmakers involved in the impeachment inquiry crucial information for their investigation.
“Our democracy has been corrupted by this president who used his power, his personal interests in his campaign to basically bribe another country into investigating one of his opponents,” Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) said on Yahoo Finance’s “YFiAM.”
“We have no choice but to start an impeachment investigation. It’s a sad situation for the entire country, but we will do our duty, our constitutional duty,” she said, adding, “I take no joy in this.”
The still unidentified whistleblower alleged in a complaint that Trump abused his power by pressuring Zelensky to investigate his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden during a July call. It also alleges the White House moved to “lock down all records of the phone call.”
“This set of actions underscored to me that White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call,” the whistleblower wrote.
The impeachment inquiry comes down to protecting the country’s democracy, which “the president of the United States doesn’t care about,” Shalala said.
Former President Bill Clinton was impeached while Shalala was serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services in his administration. “That was a painful situation,” she said. “This time we have clear evidence. This is an attack on our democracy. It’s more than improper acts by the president of the United States. It’s illegal and he admitted it.”
Shalala said the allegations in the whistleblower report that White House staff participated in covering the president’s actions are “absolutely devastating.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who launched the impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, called efforts to hide records of that phone call a “cover-up.” She has called Trump’s actions a “betrayal of his oath of office” and a “betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”
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