Get more with DIALOH

Premium sliders, page composer and unlimited layouts...

learn more...
тут може бути ваша реклама

Trapped Gold Miners Found Dead in South Africa

Four gold miners trapped underground after a tremor caused a rockfall in northeast South Africa have been found dead, their union said Sunday.

A fifth miner was rescued with serious injuries on Friday after the accident at the Tau Lekoa Mine in the town of Orkney, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.

“The four mineworkers were found dead,” a union statement said after the rescue team lost contact with the four men deep underground early Saturday.

“The last person we talked to said: ‘We are suffocating please, bring us some oxygen’,” said NUM president Joseph Montisetse.

Deadly accidents involving miners are common in South Africa, which has the deepest mines in the world.

Last year 81 people died in the country’s mines, according to the department of mineral resources.

 

Protests Subside, But Economic Aftershocks Rattle Haitians

 The flaming barricades are mostly gone, protesters have largely dissipated and traffic is once again clogging the streets of Haiti’s capital, but hundreds of thousands of people are now suffering deep economic aftershocks after more than two months of demonstrations.

The protests that drew tens of thousands of people at a time to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moise also squeezed incomes, shuttered businesses and disrupted the transportation of basic goods.

“We are nearing a total crash,” Haitian economist Camille Chalmers said. “The situation is unsustainable.”

Haiti’s economy was already fragile when the new round of protests began in mid-September, organized by opposition leaders and supporters angry over corruption, spiraling inflation and dwindling supplies, including fuel. More than 40 people were killed and dozens injured as protesters clashed with police. Moise insisted he would not resign and called for dialogue.

The United Nations World Food Program says a recent survey found that one in three Haitians, or 3.7 million people, need urgent food assistance and 1 million are experiencing severe hunger. The WFP, which says it is trying to get emergency food assistance to 700,000 people, blames rising prices, the weakening local currency, and a drop in agricultural production due partly to the disruption of recent protests.

In the last two years, Haiti’s currency, the gourde, declined 60% against the dollar and inflation recently reached 20%, Chalmers said. The rising cost of food is especially crucial in the country of nearly 11 million people. Some 60% make less than $2 a day and 25% earn less than $1 a day.

A 50-kilogram (110-pound) bag of rice has more than doubled in price in the local currency, said Marcelin Saingiles, a store owner who sells everything from cold drinks to cookies to used tools in Port-au-Prince.

The 39-year-old father of three children said he now struggles to buy milk and vegetables.

“I feed the kids, but they’re not eating the way they’re supposed to,” he said, adding that he has drained the funds set aside for his children’s schooling to buy food.

In this Dec. 3, 2019 photo, children play near their home in the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

A growing number of families across Haiti can’t even afford to do that since the protests began, with barricades preventing the flow of goods between the capital and the rest of the country.

Many of those live in Haiti’s rural areas, which also have been hardest hit by demonstrations that continue in some cities and towns.

Wadlande Pierre, 23, said she temporarily moved in with her aunt in the southwest town of Les Cayes to escape the violent protests in Port-au-Prince. However, she had to move back to the capital because there was not gas, power or water in Les Cayes, and food was becoming scarce.

“There is no access to basic items that you need,” she said.

Pierre is now helping her mother, Vanlancia Julien, sell fruits and vegetables on a sidewalk in the neighborhood of Delmas in the capital.

Julien said she recently lost a couple hundred dollars’ worth of produce because she could not go out on the street to sell due to the protests.

“All the melon, avocado, mango, pineapple, bananas, all of them spoiled,” she said.

Last year, sales were good, but she is now making a third of what she used to earn before the protests began, even though streets have reopened.

“That doesn’t amount to anything,” she said. “The fact that people don’t go out to work, it’s less people moving around and makes it harder for me.”

That also means businesses like the small restaurant that 43-year-old Widler Saint-Jean Santil owns often remain empty when they used to be full on a regular afternoon.

He said the protests have forced many business owners to lay off people, which in turn affects him because clients can no longer afford to eat out.

“If people are not working, there is no business,” he said.

Among the businesses that permanently closed was the Best Western Premier hotel, which laid off dozens of employees.

Chalmers warned that economic recovery will be slow if the political instability continues, adding that the situation is the worst Haiti has faced in recent history.

“A lot of crises came together,” he said. “Not only the economic one, but the political and fiscal ones.”

 

Iran Says New Budget Bucks US Oil Embargo, Uses Russian Loan

 Iran’s president said on Sunday his country will depend less on oil revenue next year, in a new budget that is designed to resist crippling U.S. trade embargoes.

Iran is in the grips of an economic crisis. The U.S. re-imposed sanctions that block Iran from selling its crude oil abroad, following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

“The budget sends a message to the world that despite the sanctions, we will manage the country,” President Hassan Rouhani told the opening session of Parliament. The proposed budget will counter “maximum pressure and sanctions” by the U.S., he said.

Rouhani added that the Iranian government will also benefit from a $5 billion loan from Russia that’s being finalized.  He said the U.S. and Israel will remain “hopeless” despite their goal of weakening Iran through sanctions.

The budget aimed at giving more relief and “removing difficulties” for poor people by heavily subsiding food and medical needs, he stated.

The next Iranian fiscal year begins March 20, with the advent of the Persian New Year. The budget is set to be about $40 billion, some 10% higher than in 2019. The increase comes as the country is suffering from a 40% inflation rate.

Parliament has until early February to discuss the budget bill. The Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, must approve the bill for it to become law.

Iran’s economic woes in part fueled the anger seen in widespread protests last month that Iranian security forces violently put down. Amnesty International says the unrest killed over 200 people. Iran has not given any nationwide death toll so far.

 

In Florida, Trump Says He’s Israel’s Best Pal in White House

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises.”

Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.

“They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”

Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of U.S. policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.

In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough.

“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more,” Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people – they don’t love Israel enough.”

Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic.

“Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community – even Jewish Republicans,” Keyak said.

Trump has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes before, including in August, when he said American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” A number of Jewish groups noted at the time that accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews.

The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump’s top supporters, the husband-and-wife duo of Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate.

Both Adelsons appeared on stage to introduce Trump, with Miriam Adelson asserting that Trump “has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history, and that is before he’s even completed his first term in office.”

The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 congressional elections.

Trump’s entourage at the event included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael Waltz, whom he described as “two warriors” defending him against “oppression” in the impeachment inquiry.

Trump criticized Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.

But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.

Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.

“America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” he said.

The president introduced his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has played a leading role in helping the administration craft its Mideast peace plan.

A self-described deal-maker, Trump said he had long been told that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest deal of all.

But “if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Trump said.

The White House has said its Mideast peace plan is complete and had promised to release it after Israeli elections in September. The long-delayed plan remains under wraps, and Israel appears headed for its third round of elections this year.

The plan also is facing rejection by Palestinian officials, who object to the pro-Israel leanings of the Trump administration.

During his speech, Trump also name-dropped Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticizing her for supporting the “BDS” movement against Israel: boycott, divest and sanction. In August, at Trump’s urging, Israel denied Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., entry to the country over their support for the BDS movement. Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and outspoken critics of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

“My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric,” Trump said. “As long as I am your president, it makes no difference. It’s not happening.”

Before addressing the Israeli American Council summit, Trump spoke at the Florida Republican Party’s Statesman’s Dinner in nearby Aventura. The state GOP closed the event to media coverage.
 

 

North Korea Reports ‘Very Important Test’ at Rocket Launch Site 

North Korea said Sunday that it had carried out a “very important test” at its long-range rocket launch site.

The Korean Central News Agency said the test was conducted at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Saturday afternoon. It said the result of the test was reported to the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party.

The test results will have “an important effect on changing the strategic position of [North Korea] once again in the near future,” the agency reported. 

The report didn’t say what the test entailed. But media reports said a new satellite image indicated North Korea might be preparing to resume testing engines used to power satellite launchers at the site.

The reported test came as North Korea is stepping up pressure on the U.S. to make concessions in stalled nuclear talks.

The U.N. bans North Korea from launching satellites because it is considered a test of long-range missile technology.

After repeated failures, North Korea successfully put a satellite into orbit for the first time in 2012 in a launch from the same site. North Korea had another successful satellite launch in 2016. 

No Place for Right-Wing Extremists in Ranks, German Army Says

As reports about the threat of far-right recruitment among Europe’s law enforcement and military grow, German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, told VOA that they are working to keep far-right extremists away from their units or to remove them once they have been identified. 
 
A spokesperson for the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) told VOA the military was expanding its cooperation with German security authorities and international partners to analyze links and connections of suspected right-wing extremists to try to expose them. 
 
“There is no place whatsoever for extremists in any form, but especially right-wing extremists, in the Bundeswehr with its over 250,000 members,” the MAD spokesman, who did not wish to be named, said. 
 
He said the military has taken several approaches to prevent infiltration by far-right extremists, including carrying out 16,000 security checks annually for all its applicants. 
 
“We also take other preventive measures, aiming to encourage an improved reporting culture within the units through advisories, talks and our own publications,” the spokesperson added. 

FILE – Members of the German army’s special forces secure an area while demonstrating their skills in training in Claw, near Stuttgart, July 14, 2014.

German media Sunday reported that the Bundeswehr had suspended an officer of its elite special forces, or Kommando Spezialkräfte, who had ties to right-wing elements. The Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported the officer and two other soldiers had been covertly investigated for months, which had exposed their neo-Nazi activities. 
 
On Wednesday, outrage erupted on social media after the Bundeswehr posted on its Instagram channel a picture of a Nazi swastika uniform with the word “retro” on the top of it. Following the backlash, the Bundeswehr removed the post and apologized, saying its intention in the post was to show in the photo “a centuries-long influence of uniforms on fashion.” 
 
VOA reached out to the German military officials for a comment on the officer’s suspension, but a Military Counterintelligence Service spokesperson said they were unable to comment on “specific operations.” 
 
Far-right tendencies 
 
In recent years, some German officials and counterextremism experts have cautioned against the rise in anti-Semitic and anti-immigration rhetoric among the country’s law enforcement following multiple reports of members showing far-right extremist tendencies. 
 
Fabian Virchow, a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf and the director of the Research Unit on Right Wing Extremism, told VOA that many far-right groups see police and the military as attractive recruitment grounds to expand their membership and enforce their ideology. 
 
As an example, Virchow said, Alternative for Germany, a right-wing political party founded in 2013, has named a number of police officers as its leading personnel. 
 
“Far-right extremists guess rightly that these two bodies are, on average, more conservative than the rest of the society. This refers mainly to the idea of law and order, which, from the perception of many, has been violated, especially during the crisis of the migration regime in 2015,” he said. 
 
The penetration of far-right extremists and neo-Nazis into Germany’s law enforcement gained attention in April 2017, when German army officer Franco A. was accused of plotting a right-wing terror attack he seemingly hoped would be mistaken for Islamist extremism. 

FILE – Soldiers of the German KSK attend an exercise close to Putgarten, Germany, Sept. 28, 2015.

The chief of MAD, Christof Gramm, recently said 20 soldiers at Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK), the special forces command composed of soldiers selected from the Bundeswehr, are under investigation for suspicious ties to right-wing extremists. 
 
Earlier this year, MAD admitted it had underreported the numbers of alleged cases, saying it could be as many as 450, newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported. Of those cases, MAD said 64 were suspected of membership in the Identitarian movement, while another 64 were tied to Reichsbürger. 
 
Originating in France and active in Germany since 2012, Identitarian is a right-wing movement asserting the need to preserve the “European” culture from immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants. Reichsbürger, another far-right group, does not recognize the legitimacy of the modern German state, but instead believes in reviving the 1871 borders of the German empire. 
 
Virchow, of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf, said the risk of radicalization in the military has been downplayed. He said many officials fear that an investigation could lead to exposing structural problems with racism in the police. 
 
“A very urgent task to do should be a scientific investigation of to what an extent police units hold racist and anti-Semitic ideas. To make sure that the police and the military, as the two armed structures in society, stay absolutely loyal to democracy and actively defend it is key,” he said. 
 
Transnational issue 
 
Some experts say combating the threat of right-wing infiltration of the police will likely require collective action from European countries. They say similar reports of radicalization among law enforcement of other European countries show the issue is transnational. 

FILE – This Dec. 2, 2016, photo shows the headquarters of Europol in the Netherlands.

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, known as Europol, concluded that violence related to right-wing extremism was rising in many EU states, according to a confidential report cited by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the country’s main daily newspapers, in September. 
 
The report said the groups were pursuing military and police members to boost their “combat skills.” 
 
Daniel Koehler, the director of the German Institute in Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies (GIRDS), told VOA that by infiltrating law enforcement and the military of European countries, right-wing groups are trying to secure a long-term power base and shield themselves against any potential future repression by their governments. 
 
“The hope to easily connect to soldiers and police officers ideologically is not that far off, since the far right’s approach through patriotism, nationalism, anti-communism or even blatant racism and anti-Semitism, as well as a positive stance towards violence, might resonate with many others who feel attracted to serve in the military or police,” Koehler said. 
 
He said certain European countries have taken important steps in countering this potential threat, particularly in the United Kingdom, where mandatory training is provided to officers to more easily spot far-right radicalization. 
 
However, “a more proactive approach” to embedding the concept of countering violent extremism (CVE) — actions to thwart extremist efforts to recruit, radicalize and mobilize followers to violence — within law enforcement “should be taken,” he said.  

Hong Kong Protests Cross Half-Year Mark with Rally

Marchers are again expected to fill Hong Kong streets in a rally Sunday that will test the enduring appeal of the city’s protest movement marking a half year of demonstrations.

Police granted approval for the march, which could boost participant numbers.

The rally was called by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has organized some of the biggest demonstrations since hundreds of thousands of protesters first marched on June 9.

That rally protested now-withdrawn government proposals that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China.

The movement has snowballed from there into a sustained challenge to the government of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and communist leaders in Beijing.

 

Pentagon Chief Plans to Shift US Focus to China and Russia

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday he still plans to shift the American military’s focus to competing with China and Russia, even as security threats pile up in the Middle East.

Esper outlined his strategic goals and priorities in a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum, an annual gathering of government, defense industry and military officials.

Esper, who became Pentagon chief in late July, said he is sticking to the national defense priorities set by his predecessor, Jim Mattis, who was sitting in his audience at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Since Mattis resigned one year ago in protest of President Donald Trump’s push to withdraw from Syria, the Middle East has become even more volatile. At least 14,000 additional U.S. troops have been sent to the Persian Gulf area since May out of concern about Iranian actions.

Syria itself has arguably become a more complex problem for Washington, with Turkish forces having moved into areas in the north where American forces had been partnering with Syrian Kurdish fighters against remnants of the Islamic State extremist group. Also, Iraq is facing civil protests and a violent crackdown by security forces.

The deadly shooting at a Navy base at Pensacola, Florida, on Friday by a Saudi Air Force officer could complicate U.S.-Saudi military relations, although Esper said Friday that relations remain strong.

Esper this week denied news reports that he was considering sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East, but he acknowledged to reporters Friday that he is worried by instability in Iraq and Iran.

In his speech Saturday, Esper made only a passing reference to Iran, citing Tehran’s “efforts to destabilize” the region.

He focused instead on shifting the U.S. military’s focus toward China and Russia — “today’s revisionist powers.” He accused Moscow and Beijing of seeking “veto power” over the economic and security decisions of smaller nations.

On Friday, Esper said he realizes that it will be difficult to move resources out of the Middle East to increase the focus on China and Russia.

He said he has been studying the force and resource requirements for every area of the globe to determine how to rebalance those resources.

“My ambition is and remains to look at how do we pull resources — resources being troops and equipment and you name it” — from some regions and either return them to the United States or shift them to the Asia-Pacific region, he said Friday.

“That remains my ambition, but I have to deal with the world I have, and so I gotta make sure at the same time I deter conflict — in this case in the Middle East,” he said. “I want to have sufficient forces there to make sure” the U.S. does not get into an armed conflict with Iran.

Trump: Giuliani Wants to Take Information to Barr, Congress

President Donald Trump indicated Saturday that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani wants to take the information he has gathered from his investigations in Ukraine to the U.S. attorney general and to Congress.

Trump said Giuliani had not yet told him what information he has gathered, though the president said he’s heard it was plentiful.

“He’s going to make a report, I think, to the attorney general and to Congress,” Trump told reporters outside the White House before he departed for Florida. “He says he has a lot of good information. I have not spoken to him about that information.”

Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, has been traveling to Ukraine to pursue investigations into Trump’s potential 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son, as well as a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

FILE – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani smiles as he arrives to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Manchester, N.H.

Trump’s push to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — which led to a determination that Russia meddled to help Trump win — has ultimately landed him facing down articles of impeachment, which House Democrats are drafting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request.

Trump is accused of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into announcing investigations into the Bidens while the White House held back crucial security aid for the country that had been approved by Congress.

Joe Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president, and Trump has alleged without evidence that the father got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired because the prosecutor was looking into the company. In fact, the U.S. and many other Western governments had pushed for the prosecutor’s ouster, believing that he was soft on crime.

Trump said he believes Giuliani wants to present his information to congressional investigators and to the Justice Department.

“I think he wants to go before Congress … and also to the attorney general and to the Department of Justice,” Trump said. “I hear he’s found plenty.”

Iran to Unveil New Generation of Enrichment Centrifuges Soon 

Iran will unveil a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges, the deputy head of Iran’s nuclear agency Ali Asghar Zarean told state TV on Saturday. 
 
“In the near future we will unveil a new generation of centrifuges that are domestically made,” said Zarean, without elaborating. 
 
In September, Iran said it had started developing centrifuges to speed up the enrichment of uranium as part of steps to reduce compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal following the withdrawal of the United States.

Israel Says 3 Rockets Fired Into Country From Gaza 

The Israeli military said Saturday that three rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel. 
 
The military said air defenses had intercepted two of the missiles. 
 
There were no reports of injuries, and no Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire. 
 
Cross-border violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza has ebbed and flowed in recent years. Fighting last month was the most violent in months. 
 
Leaders from Hamas, the militant group ruling Gaza, and the smaller but more radical Islamic Jihad are in Cairo, talking with Egyptian officials about cementing a cease-fire. 

Democrats Continue Work on Impeachment Probe

U.S. Democratic lawmakers met privately Saturday to work on the investigation into President Donald Trump, inching closer to an impeachment vote, possibly before the Christmas holiday recess. 
 
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were working through the weekend to review evidence against the Republican president and to draft charges that they could recommend for a full House vote as early as Thursday. 
 
The legislators disclosed a 55-page report Saturday that outlined what they viewed as the constitutional grounds on which the charges, known as articles of impeachment, could be based. 
 
On Friday, the White House said it would not cooperate with the remaining House impeachment proceedings against Trump.  

FILE – White House counsel Pat Cipollone, center, arrives for a speech by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House, May 16, 2019.

“As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness,” read a letter from Pat Cipollone, counsel to the president, addressed to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. 
 
The response was issued less than an hour before a Friday afternoon deadline for lawyers of the president to state whether they would represent him in the next round of the committee’s impeachment proceedings. 
 
“You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings,” Cipollone said in the letter. 
 
The counsel reiterated the president’s tweeted words that “if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so that we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our Country can get back to business.” 

‘He cannot claim’ unfairness
 
Later Friday, Nadler expressed disappointment Trump had decided not to participate.   
 
“We gave President Trump a fair opportunity to question witnesses and present his own to address the overwhelming evidence before us. After listening to him complain about the impeachment process, we had hoped that he might accept our invitation,” the committee chairman said in a statement. “If the President has no good response to the allegations, then he would not want to appear before the Committee. Having declined this opportunity, he cannot claim that the process is unfair.” 
 
Democrats contend the Republican president defied the norms of conduct for the office and violated his sworn obligation to uphold the U.S. Constitution by asking Ukraine to launch an investigation of Joe Biden, the former vice president running for the Democratic Party nomination to challenge Trump next year, and his son Hunter. 

FILE – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Paris, June 17, 2019, and U.S. President Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House, Sept. 20, 2019.

Trump contends his phone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy have been perfect and he did nothing wrong. Republicans have defended the president, saying Trump was right to press Ukraine to scrutinize the work that Biden’s son did for a Ukrainian natural gas company. 
 
Republicans are also pushing a debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election that Trump won. The U.S. intelligence community concluded it was Ukraine’s neighbor, Russia, that was doing the meddling. 
 
Trump’s request to Kyiv came at a time when his administration was withholding $391 million in military assistance approved for Ukraine to fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country. The aid was released in September without Ukraine opening investigations of the Bidens. 
 
The request for such an investigation in exchange for military assistance is expected to be among the articles of impeachment against Trump. 

Congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson contributed to this report.