The so-called Ukrainian affair is already the second major scandal that seriously upsets Donald Trump during his tenure. Unlike investigations into alleged Russian electoral errors, the current allegations have led to impeachment proceedings against the US president. How this "impeachment" will end is still unclear – but the evidence of Trump's misconduct is increasing.
Has Donald Trump abused his power?
The main accusation against the head of the American state is that he invited the president of a foreign country (Ukrainian President Volodomir Selensky) to investigate his domestic counterpart (Joe Biden). Now Trump and some of his ministers are being investigated for serious office abuse. By now, the list of interested parties includes almost a dozen names – here an overview of who is involved in the Ukrainian affair and why.
Donald Trump, president of the United States
It is at the center of the scandal. According to the charges, on July 25th of this year he would call Volodomir Selensky, then new head of state of Ukraine, in a telephone conversation to investigate Joe Biden, the most promising opposition candidate for the US presidential candidate. Reason: Biden is said to have protected his son Hunter from corruption investigations in Ukraine as US vice president. There are no indications for this. Follow this "favor": it is said that Trump has subordinated the payment of the promised US military aid to the start of the investigation. The president of the United States contradicts the accusation of being a "quid-pro-quo" agreement. At the beginning of October, he repeated his testimony in front of the cameras, which was used to investigate him. In front of journalists, he invited China to "start an investigation into Biden".
George Kent, State Department Assistant Secretary of State
During an interrogation session, Kent stated that he had heard the phone call between US President Trump and Selensky and made an official memorandum. In it he wrote "that I was worried that there would be efforts to start political persecutions, which constitute a violation of the rule of law both in Ukraine and in the United States". Literally, Kent said that Trump wanted nothing less when Zelensky went to the microphone and announced an investigation into Biden and Clinton. The name of Trump's opponent in the election campaign is new in relation to the Ukrainian business. It should be true, as Kent says, so the US president obviously wanted to target Hillary Clinton. According to Kent, the US government should not make similar requests to other countries, because this contradicts "everything we have tried to promote in post-Soviet countries in the last 28 years, namely the rule of law".
Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer
Giuliani, a former mayor of New York and known for slightly confused appearances, began the relationship after declaring in an interview that Trump had "naturally" asked the Ukrainians to investigate Biden. The lawyer is now considered the focus of the story. Last charge: together with the US ambassador at the EU, Gordon Sondland, Giuliani managed a "highly irregular communication channel" in Ukraine, as stated by William Taylor, an American diplomat in Kiev. At the beginning of October, the FBI also arrested two men in the United States, allegedly collecting incriminating material on Giuliani about Joe Biden. The committee responsible for the matter has summoned Giuliani, but so far he refuses to testify.
John Bolton, former Trumps security advisor
Bolton applicable as a foreign policy should actually testify on 7 November before the non-public Congress, but missed the appointment. He could become one of the most important witnesses, as he will probably confirm the previous statements. According to US media, he had been "alarmed" by the content of the call. He will then have to answer the question before the committee because he did not oppose Trump's "request" despite his concerns.
Mick Mulvaney, chief of staff
With his closed-door statement that US military aid for Ukraine had been detained for months to obtain the desired investigation, Trump's closest collaborator had stabbed his head in the back. Later, Mulvaney tried to turn back. But he cheerfully chatted with his appearance that the mutual "pleasures" in foreign policy were common. "Get used to it," he said. It seemed like a confession of accusations.
Mike Pompeo, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hardly anyone has endured Mike Pompey's Trump's orbit anymore. He has been working with the president for more than three years and therefore he knows what his boss wants: to be more Trump than Trump himself, therefore in the Ukrainian affair. He calls the impeachment procedure "presidential harassment", refuses to testify before the congress and fights teeth and nails against delivering the documents to the responsible committee. Incidentally, he was present at the threatening phone call from Trump with Selensky – which he did not specify immediately, but later in a subordinate clause.
William Taylor, ambassador to Kiev
The testimony of the American diplomat in Kiev may not have met with enthusiasm in Washington. Taylor confirmed at the hearing allegations that Trump had deliberately detained US Congress military funds for Ukraine in order to harm Joe Biden. The approximately 400 million US dollars should flow only when Ukrainian President Volodimir Selensky will publicly announce the investigation. He forwarded this information to a consultation with the US Ambassador at the EU, Gordon Sondland. Taylor was ambassador to Kiev from 2006 to 2009 and recently returned to office after promising that US support for Ukraine would continue.
Marie Jowanowitch, former ambassador in Kiev
William Taylor's predecessor as US representative in Ukraine accused Donald Trump, after months of solicitation to be recalled from their posts. His premature demise was due to the fact that he had made "useless and false statements" against her, the diplomat said in a statement to the House of Representatives. In it he described in detail how Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, and others had campaigned to get their replacement. Jowanowitch says he disagrees with Trump and Giuliani's efforts to get material from the Ukraine that would compromise Joe Biden and his son.
Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador at the EU
Like William Taylor, the former hotel magnate and principal donor, he is one of the few prominent people to testify in the relevant committees despite a "ban" on the part of the White House. He also put pressure on Donald Trump: Sondland said the president had ordered him and other diplomats to work with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani. His testimony confirms the suspicion that Trump had used his country's diplomatic apparatus in the search for Biden material and apparently had subordinated his Ukrainian policy to these aspirations. Furthermore, he acknowledged that the millions of dollars of military aid to Kiev have been temporarily made directly dependent on the investigation of Joe Biden and his son – this possible quid pro quo is the central reproach denied by the White House.
Rick Perry, former US secretary of energy
In reality a marginal figure and yet one of the first "victims" of the Ukrainian story. In an interview, he admitted to having exchanged views with Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani on corruption in Ukraine. After his name fell more frequently in the affair, he resigned from the post.
sources: DPA, AFP, The Daily Beast, Rev.com, Wired, ABC.net, CNN, Washington Post