- Title: Former U.S. security officials back Trump impeachment inquiry
- Date: 27th September 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) BISHOP GARRISON, FORMER ADVISOR IN DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY UNDER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, SAYING: "Well this is a nonpartisan issue. As you've seen from the letter that we signed, you had members very senior and the Bush administration and the Obama administration, you had some members that were senior civil diplomats that they never served as political appointees within their career. So when you talk about national security, when you talk about our values, when you talk about the sanctity of our government and ensuring that we have proper government governance, excuse me, that is a nonpartisan issue. So it doesn't matter if you served for Bush one or two, or if you served for President Clinton in the past, or if you served for President Obama, it's really about what is in the best interest of the country and unfortunately with what we've seen so far from the, from the transcript, from the record and from the whistleblower complaint, the president did not have the best interests of the nation at heart when he attempted to leverage $400 million worth of military aid with the Ukrainian president. He was doing that for his own political personal gain. And that is what has really brought us to this point."
- Embargoed: 11th October 2019 20:27
- Keywords: national security experts national security experts endorse inquiry Trump Ukraine call Nancy Pelosi Trump Trump whistleblower Trump impeachment inquiry Donald Trump Ukraine call
- Location: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- City: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES / NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004AYFPF7R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: More than 300 former officials from U.S. security and foreign policy agencies, including a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a one-time deputy secretary of state, on Friday endorsed the congressional impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Their statement said the signatories had served in the administrations of both parties. It also said the signatories did not want to prejudge the conclusions Congress may reach in the inquiry.
"President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes," they wrote in the statement sent to news organizations.
"That would constitute an unconscionable abuse of power. It also would represent an effort to subordinate America's national interests - and those of our closest allies and partners - to the President's personal political interest."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week announced she would launch the inquiry after it emerged that Trump had asked the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible rival in the 2020 presidential election, while delaying aid to the country. The news prompted a testy House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday with the acting director of national intelligence.
Bishop Garrison, a U.S. Army veteran and former Department of Homeland Security official in the Obama administration, was one of the signatories to the letter.
"For us to understand or know whether or not actual unlawful conduct criminal conduct took place, the inquiry is absolutely necessary. I felt compelled as an individual who's dedicated his adult life to serving and protecting this nation. I felt it was necessary for me to join in those voices to ensure that this type of activity is not allowed to continue. And justice is served by holding those guilty accountable," Garrison told Reuters.
Friday's statement was signed by the former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia under former President Barack Obama, Evelyn Farkas, as well as the former national intelligence officer for Europe in Obama's National Intelligence Office, Spencer P. Boyer.
It was also signed by former officials of the National Security Council, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, State Department, USAID, Homeland Security Department, White House, Defense Department, House Armed Services Committee, Navy, Justice Department and Marine Corps, among others.
U.S. relations with the rest of the world must be based solely on national interest, the signatories wrote in the statement. Introducing any other considerations from the president "debases our democracy, has the potential to make us more vulnerable to threats, and sends a message to leaders around the world that America's foreign policy can be dangerously corrupted by catering to a single individual," they wrote.
Garrison added that he believes an impeachment inquiry is the proper channel for investigating the whistleblower complaint and the phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy and that he hopes Congress will stay in session to continue the investigation.
"I hope that that Congress will stay in session and they will do everything they can to enter this without prejudging or proposing any type of potential outcomes that they will look into it thoughtfully and give their honest and sincere effort," Garrison said.
(Production Gershon Peaks, Nathan Frandino)
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