State Dept. undersecretary counters GOP claims Ukraine meddled in 2016

Sen. John Kennedy

Enlarge Image Sen. John Kennedy Getty Images

On Twitter Monday, President Trump wrote, "Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls".

"Look, I never talked to [President Donald Trump] from the position of a quid pro quo".

That was the start of the Zelensky chapter of the pressure campaign, which includes the infamous July 25 call and leadership of the "three amigos": Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former Special Envoy for the Ukraine crisis Kurt Volker.

Nunes and his colleagues also underscored during Schiff's open impeachment hearings that aid for Ukraine, although frozen, was never cut off and Zelenskiy never committed to any investigations. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky doesn't expect any groundbreaking agreements ahead of the December 9 meeting, he told Time Magazine.

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Hale, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, told Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he was not aware of any evidence that Ukraine meddled in the presidential race, but reiterated the American intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered to boost Trump's campaign.

He said there should first be a prisoner exchange within a "reasonable time period", followed by a genuine ceasefire and the retreat of all armed forces to allow local elections to be held in the region. "I have no knowledge that the Ukraine did anything to interfere with our elections other than press reports and to suggest that we know that I think would be a stretch because I don't think anybody knows that".

The conflict in Ukraine, which broke out in 2014 after pro-Western politicians took power in Kiev and Russian Federation annexed Crimea, has killed more than 13,000 people.

"I am not", Hale said. "We're at war", Zelenskiy said.

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"It doesn't mean that Russian Federation didn't, but I think North Korea did", he said. Some Ukrainian officials also did speak publicly in opposition to Trump but there was no Ukrainian government effort to undermine the then-candidate, intelligence officials have said.

"This is a hard signal", Zelensky said. "But that signal from them is very important", Zelensky explained.

Because he shares the name, but not the politics of the legendary U.S. President, the Louisiana Senator is sometimes identified as "no-relation Kennedy".

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