In August 2019, a whistleblower filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community about a July 25 phone call between Trump and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, during which Trump had pressured Zelensky to investigate CrowdStrike and Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, adding that the White House had attempted to "lock down" the call records in a cover-up. The whistleblower further stated that the call was part of a wider pressure campaign by Giuliani and the Trump administration which may have included withholding financial aid from Ukraine in July 2019 and canceling Vice President Pence's May 2019 Ukraine trip. Trump later confirmed having withheld military aid from Ukraine and offered contradicting reasons for the decision.
In 2017, North Korea's nuclear weapons became increasingly seen as a serious threat to the United States. In August 2017, Trump escalated his rhetoric, warning that North Korean threats would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". North Korea responded by releasing plans for missile tests that would land near Guam. In September 2017, Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly, saying the U.S. would "totally destroy North Korea" if "forced" to defend itself or its allies. Also in September 2017, Trump increased sanctions on North Korea, declared that he wanted North Korea's "complete denuclearization", and engaged in name-calling with leader Kim Jong-un.More Info
A second Trump–Kim summit in Hanoi in February 2019, was terminated abruptly without an agreement; both countries blamed each other and offered differing accounts of the negotiations. On June 30, 2019, Trump, Kim, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held brief talks in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president had set foot on North Korean soil. Trump and Kim agreed to resume negotiations. Bilateral talks began in Stockholm in October 2019, but broke down after one day. As of May 2020, North Korea has shown no indication that it is willing to unilaterally denuclearize.More Info
American Media, Inc. (AMI) paid $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal in August 2016, and Trump's attorney Michael Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016. Both women were paid for non-disclosure agreements regarding their alleged affairs with Trump between 2006 and 2007. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to breaking campaign finance laws, saying he had arranged both payments at the direction of Trump in order to influence the presidential election. AMI admitted paying McDougal to prevent publication of stories that might damage Trump's electoral chances. Trump denied the affairs, and claimed he was not aware of Cohen's payment to Daniels, but reimbursed him in 2017. Federal prosecutors asserted that Trump had been involved in discussions regarding non-disclosure payments as early as 2014. Court documents showed that the FBI believed Trump was directly involved in the payment to Daniels, based on calls he had with Cohen in October 2016. In July 2019, a federal judge disclosed that prosecutors had stated in a court filing they had closed the investigation, but days later the Manhattan District Attorney subpoenaed the Trump Organization and AMI for records related to the hush payments and in August subpoenaed eight years of tax returns for Trump and the Trump Organization.More Info
According to a Comey memo of a private conversation on February 14, 2017, Trump said he "hoped" Comey would drop the investigation into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.In March and April, Trump had told Comey the ongoing suspicions formed a "cloud" impairing his presidency, and asked him to publicly state that he was not personally under investigation. He also asked intelligence chiefs Dan Coats and Michael Rogers to issue statements saying there was no evidence that his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Both refused, considering this an inappropriate request, although not illegal. Comey eventually testified on June 8 that, while he was director, the FBI investigations had not targeted Trump himself.More Info
The second volume of the Mueller Report dealt with possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The report did not exonerate Trump of obstruction inasmuch as investigators were not confident of his innocence after examining his intent and actions. Investigators decided they could not "apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes", as they could not indict a sitting president per an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion, and would not accuse him of a crime when he cannot clear his name in court. The report concluded that Congress, having the authority to take action against a president for wrongdoing, "may apply the obstruction laws". Congress subsequently launched an impeachment inquiry following the Trump–Ukraine scandal, albeit it ultimately did not press charges related to the Mueller investigation.More Info
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