Donald Trump calls impeachment inquiry a 'joke'
Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed as a "joke" the grounds laid out for the impeachment inquiry into him, as Democrats stood firm in accusing the US president of a "mafia-style shakedown" of his Ukrainian counterpart.

According to Deccan Chronicle, the complaint says that the whistleblower learned about the effort from “multiple US officials.” A secret whistleblower complaint at the centre of an impeachment inquiry alleges that President Donald Trump abused the power of his office to "solicit interference from a foreign country" in next year's US election. The White House then tried to "lock down" the information to cover it up, the complaint says.

The 9-page document was released Thursday ahead of testimony to House investigators from Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence. The whistleblower complaint is at least in part related to the July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump prodded Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

The White House released a rough transcript of that call on Wednesday. "In the days following the phone call, I learned from multiple US officials that senior White House officials had intervened to 'lock down' all the records of the phone call, especially the official word-for-word transcript of the call that was produced as is customary by the White House situation room," the complaint says.

Committee members are hearing the testimony on Thursday over the complaint and details of the July 25 call on which Trump prodded Ukraine’s leader to work with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the US attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

Trump has said he’s done nothing wrong. “They are getting hit hard on this witch hunt because when they look at the information, it’s a joke,” he said. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry. The House Intelligence Committee has released a redacted version of a whistleblower complaint at the centre of Demo-crats’ impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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