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  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremonial swearing-in for Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremonial swearing-in for Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 October 2019

Trump's presidency is facing its greatest challenge as the Democrat-led House of Representatives seeks to have him impeached.

U.S. President Donald Trump has created many enemies during his tenure in office, but perhaps the biggest threat to his administration is coming from several former staff members that are now agreeing to testify against him.

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US House of Representatives Intensifies Impeachment Probe

According to a latest report from Capitol Hill, two former officials who were engaged in the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine will meet with U.S. congressional committees starting this week, as the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump gains steam.

In addition to the attendance of the two former officials, staff members from the ​​​​​​​Senate and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Oversight and Appropriations committees were invited to the briefing. The session was expected to address Ukraine-related documents that have been subpoenaed by House committees.

Trump's impeachment probe began last week when a whistleblower complaint about the President's request to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a July 25 phone call to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender in the Democratic race to run against Republican Trump in the 2020 election.

The whistleblower, who has not been identified, is said to be an intelligence agent who accused Trump of soliciting foreign interference for his personal political benefit.

In response to the allegations, Trump has denied wrongdoing and assailed the probe.

Kurt Volker, who resigned last week as Trump’s special representative for Ukraine, was to go to Capitol Hill to give a deposition to House staff on Thursday, the day he had been asked to appear.

Marie Yovanovitch, who was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine until she was abruptly recalled in May, has agreed to appear on Oct. 11, not on Wednesday as originally requested.

With their deep knowledge of Ukraine, testimony by Yovanovitch and Volker could be especially important to the impeachment probe formally launched by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week.

The inquiry could lead to approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against Trump in the House. That would lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to remove him from office. But the president’s fellow Republicans control that chamber and have shown little appetite for removing him.

Yovanovitch was ordered back to Washington two months before the end of her three-year tour in Kiev. The career diplomat, who had served during both Republican and Democratic administrations, had been the subject of attacks in right-leaning media and Democrats had suggested her recall was politically motivated.

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