Trump’s fury rises with key impeachment inquiry testimony on the horizon

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President Donald Trump’s frustration with the Democratic impeachment probe is boiling over, with investigators set Thursday to peel back yet another layer of what is being revealed as a broad, and possibly unlawful, behind-the-scenes scheme to pressure Ukraine for political gain.

Trump blew up Wednesday at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who made the fateful decision to initiate impeachment investigations three weeks ago. Those have moved at staggering speed and produced a torrent of damaging revelations for the White House.

The President’s tantrum, described by top Democrats, came with his increasingly vehement denials of wrongdoing being challenged every day by testimony from current and former officials that has undercut the administration’s effort to stall an impeachment process that it claims is illegal in itself.

Another day of danger looms on Thursday for the President with Gordon Sondland, the Republican donor-turned-US ambassador to the European Union, due to give a private deposition on Capitol Hill that could get to the root of Trump’s backdoor dealings with Ukraine.

Sondland was a go-between linking Trump’s circle to the government in Kiev, amid allegations the White House conditioned incentives — including hundreds of dollars in military aid — on Ukraine’s willingness to open an investigation into the President’s possible 2020 foe, Joe Biden.

The President’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is meanwhile slipping ever deeper into trouble, amid revelations about his go-it-alone Ukraine policy shop that could also come back to hurt Trump.

CNN reported Wednesday that a federal inquiry into Giuliani’s activity also includes a counterintelligence probe — to establish whether the former New York mayor’s business ties to Ukraine made him vulnerable to a foreign intelligence service.

“He needs an attorney. I mean, he needs a bunch of attorneys, because Giuliani is in serious trouble,” said Guy Smith, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense.

“If there’s a (counterintelligence) investigation going on, this is serious business. Those guys don’t just look for non-paid parking tickets. This is serious stuff,” Smith told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

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