U.S. President Donald Trump ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before a phone call in which he pressured the Eastern European nation’s leader to investigate the family of political rival Joe Biden, a new revelation that comes as more Democrats move toward impeachment proceedings. Trump’s order was first reported by The Washington Post and was confirmed to The Associated Press by two people familiar with but not authorized to discuss private conversations. They spoke on condition of anonymity. Late Monday, an influential group of freshmen Democrats who served in the military and national security before winning office said Trump’s actions cut to the core of the country’s defenses. Their views, as centrist lawmakers from previously Republican-held districts where Trump has been popular, hold sway with party leadership. At issue is a summer phone call with Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump is said to have pushed for investigations into Biden. In the days before that call, Trump ordered the aid to Ukraine frozen. Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong and has denied that any requests for help in procuring damaging information about Biden were tied to the aid freeze. Democrats, and some Republicans, urged the White House to be open about his actions, which are the center of a whistleblower complaint. But with no new information from the administration forthcoming, more than a dozen Democrats, including some in House leadership, added their names to those calling for impeachment proceedings….
“These allegations are stunning, both in the national security threat they pose and the potential corruption they represent,” wrote the seven freshmen, who include a former Navy pilot, soldiers, officers and intelligence analysts.
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