President Trump called Wednesday for ending the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry “for the good of the Country,” claiming it was tainted with political bias, and said the whistleblower at the heart of the complaint should be “exposed and properly questioned.”
Trump’s comments, in morning tweets, came a day after the White House said in a scathing eight-page letter that it would not cooperate with the inquiry into the Ukraine scandal, saying it lacked merit.
The letter was the latest escalation in a standoff with Congress, where Democrats are vowing to hold Trump accountable for pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son at a time when U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been suspended.
In a statement Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said that Trump had “betrayed our nation.”
● White House escalates standoff with Congress, says it will not cooperate with impeachment inquiry of Trump.
● Former national security officials fight back as Trump attacks impeachment as ‘deep state’ conspiracy.
● U.S. judge balks at Justice Department bid to deny House access to Mueller grand jury materials.
9:30 a.m.: Graham says he’s gathering GOP signatures for a letter to Pelosi
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that he is seeking Republican signatures for a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that contends that Trump’s July call with Zelensky does not amount to an impeachable offense.
Graham made his comments during an appearance on Fox News in which he called the House impeachment inquiry “a star-chamber process.”
“I’m going to ask my colleagues in the Senate, Republicans, to sign a letter to Nancy Pelosi saying we do not believe the transcript of the phone call between the president and the Ukraine is an impeachable offense,” Graham said.
If Trump is impeached by the Democratic-led House, a trial would be held in the Republican-led Senate to determine whether to remove him from office.
Graham also elaborated on his invitation to have Trump personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani testify in front of his Senate panel.
“He’s claiming to have a lot of evidence about corruption in the Ukraine that ties back to the Democrats that’s apart from what the House is looking at,” Graham said. “I think Rudy’s got a story to tell. I want him to tell it in my committee.”
9:05 a.m.: Hoyer says Trump ‘betrayed our nation,’ urges GOP to support inquiry
Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said Wednesday that Trump had ‘betrayed our nation’ in the Ukraine scandal.
Hoyer’s assessment came in a statement in response to the White House announcement Tuesday that it would not cooperate with the inquiry into Trump pressing Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.
“The letter sent by the White House yesterday is the latest example of this Administration’s efforts to stonewall an investigation into the President’s abuse of power and obstruct justice,” Hoyer said. “The evidence shows that the President betrayed our nation by encouraging foreign interference in our election, undermining our democracy and national security.”
Hoyer also urged House Republicans to work with Democrats on the impeachment inquiry.
“This is not an issue of party or politics — it is about our Constitution, the rule of law, and the security of our nation,” Hoyer said. “House Democrats will continue to pursue this inquiry with the seriousness and solemnity it deserves.”
8:20 a.m.: Trump calls for end of impeachment inquiry, says whistleblower should be ‘exposed’
Trump on Wednesday called for ending the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, claiming that it was tainted by partisanship, amid tweets in which he lashed out in multiple directions.
“For the good of the Country, this Witch Hunt should end now!” Trump wrote, calling the inquiry a “scam.”
“The Do Nothing Democrats are Con Artists, only looking to hurt the Republican Party and President,” he wrote in another tweet. “Their total focus is 2020, nothing more, and nothing less. The good news is that WE WILL WIN!!!!”
In another tweet, Trump took aim at the anonymous U.S. intelligence official whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry, writing that the whistleblower “should be exposed and properly questioned.”
Trump also took fresh aim at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), writing that he “should be Impeached for Fraud!”
Trump has taken issue with Schiff’s statement during a hearing in which he embellished Trump’s July call with the leader of Ukraine. Schiff later said that it was meant as a parody and that Trump should have realized that.
In an earlier tweet Wednesday, Giuliani also sought to paint the impeachment inquiry as “purely partisan,” saying it should be paid for by the Democratic National Committee.
6:15 a.m.: Eric Trump supports calling impeachment inquiry an ‘attempted coup’
One of President’s Trump’s sons, Eric Trump, took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to voice support for Fox News host Sean Hannity, who on Tuesday night told viewers he would no longer refer to the impeachment inquiry by that term because “it is not.”
“This is just the latest attempted coup of a duly elected president,” Hannity said on his prime-time show.
“@seanhannity is absolutely correct — This is not an impeachment inquiry, it is an ‘attempted coup,’” Eric Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
6 a.m.: McConnell says impeachment inquiry has ‘fallen far short’ on fairness
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose chamber would determine whether to remove Trump from office if he is impeached, criticized the House inquiry Tuesday night, saying it has “fallen far short” on fairness.
“Overturning the results of an American election requires the highest level of fairness and due process, as it strikes at the core of our democratic process,” McConnell tweeted. “So far, the House has fallen far short by failing to follow the same basic procedures that it has followed for every other President in our history.”
Later Tuesday night, Trump retweeted McConnell’s assessment, adding in his own words: “The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of the USA!”
5 a.m.: Trump ally on Fox News calls whistleblowers ‘suicide bombers,’ accuses Democrats of ‘regicide’
Former U.S. attorney Joseph E. diGenova turned to European history Tuesday night to describe the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into President Trump calling their efforts “regicide,” the act of killing a king.
“What you’re seeing is regicide,” diGenova, a frequent Trump defender, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “This is regicide by another name, fake impeachment. The Democrats in the House want to destroy the president.”
But diGenova, a conspiracy theorist Trump wanted on his legal team during the Russia probe, wasn’t finished. In a lengthy interview on “The Ingraham Angle,” the lawyer, who was joined by Giuliani, blasted the two anonymous whistleblowers as “suicide bombers” and accused Democrats of “sedition.”
The fiery rhetoric marks the latest escalation in language used by Trump’s supporters, and even the president himself, to complain about the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
Read more here.
— Allyson Chiu