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Schiff: Trump requests to China, Ukraine are 'fundamental breach' of office

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Trump pardons Flynn | Lawmakers lash out at decision | Pentagon nixes Thanksgiving dining hall meals due to COVID-19 Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday blasted President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE for asking China and Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenLawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list GOP lawmaker blasts incoming freshman over allegations of presidential voter fraud Haaland has competition to be first Native American to lead Interior  MORE, calling it a "fundamental breach" of presidential decorum and a threat to national security.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, where lawmakers from three committees are interviewing a key witness as part of the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Schiff said the comments are evidence that Trump has ignored the lessons from former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting MORE’s investigation into Russian interference — and Mueller's warnings of ongoing foreign influence over critical domestic affairs.

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"To have the president of the United States suggesting — urging — a foreign country to interfere in our presidential elections is an illustration that this president, if he learned anything from the two years of the Mueller investigation, it's that he feels he can do anything with impunity," Schiff told a crowd of reporters staking out the meeting.

"The president of the United States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere again to help his campaign by investigating a rival is a fundamental breach of the presidential oath of office," Schiff continued. "It endangers our elections; it endangers our national security. It ought to be condemned by every member of this body, Democrats and Republicans alike."

Hours earlier, Trump raised plenty of eyebrows when he called on the leaders of China and Ukraine to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

"I would think that if they were honest about it they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

Trump is already under fire after the recent revelation, unveiled in an anonymous whistleblower complaint, that Trump had urged Ukraine's president in July to investigate corruption allegations against the Bidens.

In response, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Battle heats up for House Foreign Affairs gavel Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (D-Calif.), after months tamping down the impeachment push, endorsed a formal inquiry. As part of the process, Democrats have subpoenaed administration documents related to the Ukraine affair, while seeking depositions from a handful of current and former State Department officials with knowledge of the episode.

The first interview is being conducted Thursday in the Capitol, where Schiff is leading the deposition of Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerGOP senators request details on Hunter Biden's travel for probe Yovanovitch retires from State Department: reports Live coverage: Senators enter second day of questions in impeachment trial MORE, the Trump administration's former envoy to Ukraine. Also in attendance are members of the Oversight and Reform and Foreign Affairs committees.

Participating lawmakers of both parties have been tight-lipped about the details of their interview.

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill EPA chief quarantining after exposure to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Barr splits with Trump on election; pardon controversy MORE (R-N.C.), a close Trump ally, said Volker was providing "clarity" surrounding Trump's July request to the Ukrainian president.

"Anytime that you can add clarity to what actually happened is a good day for Americans," Meadows said. "And I think we're getting more clarity."