‘No ambiguity’ in Ukraine transcripts, officials say
WASHINGTON — There was no hinting around, it was a straight-out trade, two key White House officials told impeachment investigators. If Ukraine’s new leader wanted an Oval Office welcome from Donald Trump — and he did — he would have to open a public probe into the president’s Democratic foe Joe Biden and his son.
“There was no ambiguity,” said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer assigned to the National Security Council, recounting an extraordinary day of meetings at the White House last summer.
According to transcripts released Friday in the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, Vindman and Fiona Hill, a former White House Russia adviser, both gave firsthand descriptions of scenes central to the congressional probe.
Vindman testified that Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor serving as ambassador to the European Union, told the visiting officials that if they hoped to win that coveted face-to-face meeting, “the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens.”
The Bidens? the House questioners pressed. In the White House Ward Room he mentioned the word “Bidens”?
“To the best of my recollection, yes,” Vindman testified. “My visceral reaction to what was being called for suggested that it was explicit.”
Abusive South Korean facility exported children
BUSAN, South Korea — The Associated Press has found that a South Korean facility that kidnapped, abused and enslaved children and the disabled for a generation was also shipping children overseas for adoption, part of a profit-seeking enterprise that thrived by exploiting those trapped within its walls.
The AP, which previously exposed a government cover-up at Brothers Home and a greater level of abuse than earlier known, has now found that the facility was part of an orphanage pipeline feeding private adoption agencies.
Relying on documents obtained from officials, lawmakers or from freedom of information requests, the AP uncovered direct evidence that 19 children were adopted out of Brothers and sent abroad, as well as indirect evidence showing at least 51 more such adoptions. The adoptions AP found took place between 1979 and 1986.