The White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham on Friday said that “zero evidence” of any wrongdoing by President Donald Trump was presented at the impeachment hearing by a Congressional panel, asserting that the former US envoy to Ukraine deposed she was unaware of any criminal activity involving the president.
“The second public hearing of Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Schiff’s impeachment charade was as useless and inconsequential as the first. Zero evidence of any wrongdoing by the President was presented,” White House said after the conclusion of the second public hearing on impeachment against Trump.
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as part of the House-initiated impeachment hearing against Trump.
Grisham further said while referring to her testimony that Yovanovitch deposed under oath that she was unaware of any criminal activity involving President Trump.
“She was not on the July 25 phone call and had no knowledge about the pause on aid to Ukraine. It is difficult to imagine a greater waste of time than today”s hearing, and yet unfortunately, we expect more of the same partisan political theater next week from House Democrats,” Grisham added.
Earlier on Thursday, US House of Speaker Nancy Pelosi had said that President Trump has admitted that he took bribery in the Ukraine scandal at the heart of a Democratic-led enquiry, accusing him of an impeachable offence under the US Constitution.
During a press briefing, Pelosi said a day after the first public hearing in the impeachment enquiry, “The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections. That’s bribery”.
On Friday, Yovanovitch was the third witness to appear before the House Committee headed by Congressman Adam Schiff in the Democrat”s impeachment against Trump.
The public hearing of the probe kicked off on Wednesday as William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs, testified for more than five hours before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
“Untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President”s Trump”s orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason. I did not and I would not say such a thing. Such statements would be inconsistent with my training as a foreign service officer and my role as an ambassador,” she said.
The previous Obama administration, she said, did not ask her to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign, she said.
“Nor had I taken any such steps if they had. Partisanship of this type is not compatible with the role of a career foreign service officer,” she said.
The former diplomat said she never met Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, nor she had any direct or indirect conversations with him.
On Wednesday, Trump described the impeachment probe against him as “witch hunt”, saying he was “too busy” to watch it.
Late September, the impeachment inquiry, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initiated over a complaint by an anonymous whistleblower, is looking into White House’s alleged efforts to withhold military aid to have Ukraine investigate a Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden.
The focus of the inquiry is a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and the former vice president’s son Hunter, who had served as a board member for a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma.
Trump also asked Zelenskiy to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory embraced by some Trump allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 US election.
(With inputs from PTI)