14:48 GMT25 January 2020
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    According to previous reports, Donald Trump had personally urged the lawmaker to change his allegiances before the upcoming vote on the articles of impeachment, which is expected to take place next week.

    At least five staffers in US representative Jeff Van Drew's office stepped down on Sunday ahead of his switch to the GOP amid the impeachment controversy, news portal Axios reported, citing their resignation letter.

    The legislator from New Jersey has repeatedly slammed his party for the push to impeach Trump, and even reportedly met with the president earlier this week in order to discuss his shift to the Republican Party.

    ​US House Democrats launched the impeachment proceedings this September, claiming that Trump had pressed his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden – son of ex-Vice President and 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meets with Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, August 2016.
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Palinchak
    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meets with Vice President of the United States Joe Biden, August 2016.

    They accused the US president of using military aid to Ukraine as leverage in the talks, while both Zelensky and Trump denied the allegation. According to Trump, back in 2016, the then vice president used his influence to stop a Ukranian criminal probe into the gas company Burisma, where his son was a member of the board.

    Tags:
    impeachment, impeachment, Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, Donald Trump
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