A leaked phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to play an important role in the presidential impeachment hearings in Washington, former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, told Foxs Maria Bartiromo on Nov. 3.
The tense call in 2017 saw Trump and Turnbull clash over a resettlement deal brokered under the Obama Administration, which would see the United States take up to 2,000 economic migrants who had been held on the islands of Nauru and Manus under the countrys offshore processing policy.
The White House transcript, leaked to The Washington Post, showed Turnbull pushing Trump to honor an Obama deal the day after Trump announced a controversial travel ban on certain Middle Eastern countries.
Trump vehemently opposed the deal, telling Turnbull his acceptance would make him appear as a “weak and ineffective leader.”
“Here, I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people,” he said.
Bannon said that the high-level leak resulted in the White House restricting the recording of phone calls with foreign leaders going forward.
Whistleblower Warns Cover-Up
But records of Trumps July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are now at the center of Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiffs impeachment investigation.
Trump was accused in the phone call of coercing Zelensky to investigate corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden and his father and Trumps rival presidential candidate, Joe Biden, while linking the call with earlier action by Trump to block millions in military aid from being released to Ukraine.
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A senior official who listened in on the call, Tim Morrison, has since testified that he “was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed.”
He added that the Ukrainians didnt know about the hold on aid until the news was leaked to the media on Aug. 28 after the Trump–Zelensky phone call.
Earlier testimony from William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, suggested that the president had made clear the release of this aid was conditional on the corruption allegations involving Biden being investigated. However, Trump had said that he had held up the aid because of serious corruption in the country and to spur European partners to shoulder a greater share of NATO costs.
Trump has repeatedly called the impeachment probe against him the “greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.”
Bannon told The Australian that the upcoming impeachment hearings are “inextricably linked” with the phone call between Turnbull and Trump because after the conversation was leaked to the media, the White House was forced to change its processes and restrict records of tRead More – Source