Donald Trump ‘Too Busy’ to Watch Impeachment Hearing
“It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax, I’m too busy to watch it,” Trump told reporters.
Professing disinterest, President Donald Trump said he was ‘too busy’ doing the people’s business to watch the impeachment hearings that imperil his presidency.
However, even as Trump tried to suggest he was above the fray, the president tweeted two dozen times before noon laying out his grievances about the process playing out on the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Trump could not resist taking a swipe at one of his political foes as he sat next to another world leader in the Oval Office.
“It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax, I’m too busy to watch it, there’s nothing there. I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers, they took some guys off television. You know, I’m not surprised to see it, because Schiff can’t do his own questions.”Donald Trump, United States President
That was a reference to Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman overseeing the impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill.
‘New Hoax. Same Swamp,’ Says White House
“New hoax. Same swamp,” read one tweet from the White House that Trump retweeted as the proceedings began. He quoted his defenders and lashed out at the first witnesses to testify publicly, declaring William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Ukraine, and George Kent, a career diplomat, as “NEVER TRUMPERS!”
Taylor and Kent worked for Republican and Democratic administrations. There is no evidence that either engaged in partisan activity opposing Trump.
Overall, the president tweeted or retweeted more than 24 times before sitting down with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, circulating a video in which Trump deemed the impeachment proceedings “the single greatest scam in the history of American politics.”
Impeachment, a Political Winner for Trump?
The Democrats have been trying to make the case that the president tried to extort a foreign nation, Ukraine, to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But even if the House ultimately votes to make Trump only the third American president to be impeached, few expect the Republican-controlled Senate to eventually remove Trump from office.
Although a number of the president's advisers believe that impeachment could be a political winner for Trump on the campaign trail next year, the president has reacted angrily to the probe. He defends his summer phone call with Ukraine's leader, which is at the heart of the inquiry, as "perfect" while deriding the impeachment effort as a conspiracy among Democrats and the "deep state."
Trump has long been frustrated by the inability of his own White House staff and his Republican cohorts on Capitol Hill to change the narrative of the impeachment inquiry and has urged them to mount a more robust defense.
Trump to Release Transcript of Phone Call With Ukrainian President?
Although Trump has teased that he will soon release the transcript of his April phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, White House officials are not confirming that any such release is forthcoming. That first call to Zelenskiy is widely known to have been largely a congratulatory conversation after Zelenskiy's election. It was the rough transcript of Trump's second call with Zelenskiy, in July, that prompted a whistleblower's complaint.
Releasing a transcript of the first call could be an attempt by the White House to distract from the congressional hearings, though the impeachment inquiry has moved well beyond the phone calls into broader attempts by the president and his allies to prod Ukraine to investigate Democrats by using U.S. military aid as leverage.
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