Donald Trump has insisted he has “done nothing wrong” and does not deserve to be impeached, and made the extraordinary suggestion that he appear on live TV to read the full transcript of his controversial phone call with the Ukrainian president in a “fireside chat”.

On the evening of the historic day that the House of Representatives voted to formalize impeachment proceedings against him, Trump proclaimed his innocence in an Oval Office interview with the Washington Examiner.

Meanwhile, the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who announced the launch of the impeachment inquiry in September, appeared on Stephen Colbert’s late-night TV show and said: “I pray for the United States of America.”


Pelosi said: “It’s very sad. We don’t want to impeach a president. We don’t want the reality that a president has done something that is in violation of the constitution.”

But a defiant Trump defended himself from the allegation at the heart of the inquiry – that he pressured the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate Joe Biden and delayed vital military aid to Ukraine as a quid pro quo.

Trump has previously described the central phone call in which he asked Zelenskiy for “a favor” as a “perfect” call. In his latest interview, he modified that by saying it was “a good call”.

He said: “At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call.”

Trump also floated the idea of making T-shirts with the message “Read the transcript” as part of the White House strategy to defend him in the impeachment inquiry – which is likely to proceed in the next few months to a congressional trial in the Senate. He reiterated that the White House will not cooperate with the investigation, in terms of acceding to demands for documents and witnesses from the Democratic-dominated House or obeying subpoenas.

After a whistleblower from the US intelligence community made a formal complaint about the substance of the phone call, the White House issued a memo that revealed much of the phone dialogue – echoing the whistleblower’s details – but was not a full transcript.

Trump also sharply contrasted his situation with that of the Democratic president Bill Clinton in his second term, over an affair with a White House intern, and the fate of the Republican president Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 as he was facing the impeachment process and likely removal from office.

“Everybody knows I did nothing wrong,” he said. “Bill Clinton did things wrong; Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won’t go back to [Andrew] Johnson because that was a little before my time,” he said. “But they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong.”

Nixon was at the head of a conspiracy and cover-up that centered on the break-in of the Democratic National Committee office in the Watergate building in Washington in 1972 to steal dirt on his political opponents.

Johnson was impeached in 1868 on congressional charges relating to political corruption.

On Thursday, for only the third time in the history of the modern presidency, the US House of Representatives voted to formalize the impeachment proceedings.

In a largely party-line vote of 232-196, the House embarked on a path that seemed likely to lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment – if not necessarily his removal from office. Pelosi presided over the vote and marked it with a bang of her gavel.

Republicans held ranks to vote uniformly against the process, while two Democrats crossed party lines to join them. The House’s sole independent, former Republican Justin Amash of Michigan, voted to advance the resolution.

The vote set rules for the public phase of the inquiry, laying out a plan for impeachment that could produce dramatic televised public hearings within two weeks and a vote on impeachment itself by the end of the year.

For weeks, congressional investigators have been interviewing witnesses – 15 and counting – behind closed doors about alleged misconduct by Trump, who stands accused of using the power of his office to solicit foreign interference in the 2020 US election.

Witnesses have been called to appear behind closed doors next week, before a shift to open hearings and the drawing up of official articles of impeachment. A simple majority vote in favor in the House would then move the process to the Senate for a likely trial of the president.

Source :

Related Posts

Next Post


Popular Post