Donald Trump: Impeachment inquiry a witch hunt
Donald Trump tweets hours before transcript confirms he pushed Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden
Washington: The US plunged into an impeachment crisis on Wednesday, as House Democrats opened an investigation into President Donald Trump's campaign season dealings with Ukraine. Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine's president to look into Democratic rival Joe Biden, according to a rough transcript released by the White House.
"Whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great," Trump said in the phone call. He was referring to Attorney General William Barr, the nation's top law enforcement official.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched the formal impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, yielding to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats. The move — the first step in a complex process that stands little chance of driving Trump from office — pushed US politics into a perilous new chapter just 14 months before new election for control of the White House.
"The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonourable facts of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections," Pelosi said. "Therefore, today I'm announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry." Trump denounced the inquiry as "Witch Hunt garbage" — while also claiming it would help his re-election chances in 2020. Live news channels played Pelosi's speech on TV over the lobby bar at Trump Tower, where the president retreated Tuesday afternoon.
"Presidential harassment" he lashed out on Twitter afterwards. Taking to Twitter again on Wednesday, Trump said, "There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have. The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!"
His strategists have long believed impeachment could be a victory: that the American public would view the move as a purely partisan manoeuvre that would work against Democrats as it did for Republicans when they went that route against Bill Clinton 20 years ago.
No. of months left for the new election for control of White House
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