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Donald Trump recorded suggesting that whistleblower is involved in 'treason'

The US President was speaking at an event for US diplomats but a recording has been published by the Los Angeles Times.

Source: Los Angeles Times/YouTube

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has suggested that the person who released information to the whistleblower who made a number of allegations about his White House should be treated as a traitor.

Speaking at an event for US diplomats in New York, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times reported that Trump said the whistleblower was involved in espionage.

“I want to know who’s the person, who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information? Because that’s close to a spy,” Trump said.

You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

Following three days in New York, Trump has now flown back to Washington and into the biggest crisis of his tempestuous presidency.

He now becomes only the fourth president to face an impeachment inquiry.

Trump goes further than merely insisting he did nothing wrong when talking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Instead, he is painting the allegations as part of a plot, setting the stage for a political and legal struggle sure to stress an already divided country to its limits.

Talking to reporters on the way back to the White House, Trump branded the Democrats a “disgrace.”

The impeachment procedures “shouldn’t be allowed,” he said.

“There should be a way of stopping it. Maybe legally, through the courts.”

us-president-trump-returns-from-new-york Trump arrives at Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington DC. Source: PA Images

Those comments were likely to spook opponents already claiming that Trump has repeatedly behaved — the Ukraine affair being only the latest example — as if he were above the law.

The White House had already released a rough transcript of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump prodded Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.

But the complaint released earlier today offers a broader picture of what was happening in the White House and the administration at the time.

In the aftermath of the call, according to the whistleblower, White House lawyers were concerned “they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain,” the complaint says.

The complaint is certain to revive questions about the activities of Rudy Giuliani, who it says alarmed government officials by circumventing “national security decision-making processes.”

Giuliani, a Trump loyalist who represented the president in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, repeatedly communicated with advisers of Ukraine’s president in the days after the phone call.

- With reporting by © – AFP 2019 and Associated Press

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Rónán Duffy

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