- The Washington Times - Monday, September 23, 2019

Rep. Jim Himes on Monday said the latest developments involving President Trump and a conversation with the Ukrainian president in which he apparently discussed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden “really ups the ante” in terms of House Democrats’ moving forward on impeachment proceedings.

“Extorting a foreign leader for the purposes of getting that leader to do your political work, to try to find dirt on your opponent, is extortion,” Mr. Himes said on CNN’s “New Day.” “It is using the assets of the United States of America and the public trust for your own corrupt, if you will, ends, certainly political ends.”

“I can’t tell you that the House will move into impeachment mode right away, but this really ups the ante,” said Mr. Himes, Connecticut Democrat.

SEE ALSO: Trump: Biden discussed in Ukraine call

Mr. Himes pointed to a letter House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent to colleagues on Sunday saying that if the administration failed to turn over a whistleblower complaint reportedly tied to the conversation, they “will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.”

“It’s sort of hard not to read between the lines there about what she means,” Mr. Himes said.

Mr. Trump on Sunday appeared to confirm reports that he spoke about Mr. Biden during a July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but said he did nothing wrong and that he delayed aid to the country because others weren’t offering a fair share.

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, with largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place and largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine and Ukraine has got a lot of problems,” Mr. Trump told White House reporters as he left for a rally in Texas.

“The new president is saying that he’s going to be able to rid the country of corruption, and I said that would be a great thing. We had a great conversation,” he said.

Mr. Trump urged Mr. Zelensky “about eight times” to cooperate with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on investigating Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, over a possible nexus between the son’s business interests and the vice president’s push in 2016 to oust a Ukrainian prosecutor, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report.

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