President Donald Trump said that he “wouldn’t mind” a lengthy impeachment trial in the Senate, following a vote by a House panel advancing two articles of impeachment to the full House.
If the House votes to impeach Trump, a trial will take place in the Senate.
Asked if he prefers a long Senate trial or a short one in the Oval Office on Friday, Trump responded, “I’ll do whatever I want. Look there is—we did nothing wrong. So I’ll do long, or short.”
“I’ve heard Mitch, I’ve heard Lindsey. I think they are very much in agreement on some concept[s]. I’ll do whatever they want to do. It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t mind the long process, because I’d like to see the whistleblower, who’s a fraud,” Trump added.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday night that he is “coordinating” with the White House and that, ultimately, it is up to Trump’s lawyers to decide whether to call witnesses during the trial.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week he’d prefer not to have any witnesses called, opting instead for a speedy trial.
After opening statements are made by lawyers for the House and lawyers representing Trump, then a simple majority of 51 Senators could move to end the trial, McConnell said at his weekly press conference. A conviction requires two-thirds of the Senators present when the vote happens; the GOP holds a 53-47 majority.
While Senate leadership has suggested not having witnesses called, some House members want witnesses to answer questions.
Trump on Friday called the impeachment efforts “a scam” and “a witch hunt” and said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whose memo on FISA abuse was shown by the Department of Justice Inspector General to be rife with misinformation, is “crooked.”
“Once I released the text of what happened, the transcript, that was the end. Everybody disappeared,” Trump asserted. He released a transcript of his July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shortly after a whistleblower complaint was reported on, and after House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry.
“So now there is no informer. There is no second whistleblower. Everybody’s gone. And by the way, a guy like [U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon] Sondland, nobody ever says it. He said very strongly that I said I want nothing and no quid pro quo. Nobody says that. That’s what he said. He said it in Congress. Nobody ever says that,” Trump added.
“So look, we’re dealing with a lot of corrupt people. There was nothing done wrong. To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country.”
“It’s a very sad thing for our country but it seems to be very good for me politically,” he said. “The polls have gone through the roof for Trump,” the president added. It wasn’t clear which polls he was referring to, though a Rasmussen poll last week showed an approval rating of 52 percent.
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Author: Zachary Stieber