Trump news: President asked about Ukraine 'investigations', impeachment hearings told as Democrats reject effort to force whistleblower testimony

Joe Sommerlad, Clark Mindock, Chris Riotta, Andrew Feinberg
Donald Trump: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The House impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump is beginning its first public hearings with Bill Taylor, acting US ambassador to Ukraine, and State Department official George Kent. Both witnesses delivered joint-testimony to Congress as the president derides the process as a “partisan sham”.

Mr Trump has meanwhile reportedly been threatening to fire his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney over his recent blunders. He also previously considered axing Michael Atkinson, the inspector general of the US intelligence community, over his handling of the whistle-blower complaint about his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, as senior Republicans insist they will not be watching the hearings and Mr Trump hosts his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday, progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for the resignation of senior Trump aide Stephen Miller over racist emails he sent to the right-wing news site Breitbart, in which he advocated white nationalist ideologies.

Following a meeting between the two leaders, Mr Trump repeated to reporters at a press conference that the day's public impeachment hearings are a "witch hunt" and a "joke".

"I haven't watched, I haven't watched for one minute because I've been with the president which is much more important as far as I'm concerned," Mr Trump said.

But the leaders were at odds following their controversial summit, to which five Senators were invited, discussing Turkey's cease-fire against Kurdish forces in Syria, as well as a two-day $100b trade deal and Turkey's acquisition of Russian anti-aircraft weapons.

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