Trump Says Impeachment Inquiry a ’Joke’ As Whistleblower Complaint Voted To Be Released
By Staff, Agencies
A downbeat US President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed as a "joke" the grounds laid out for the impeachment inquiry into him, as Democrats stood firm in accusing the president of a "mafia-style shakedown" of his Ukrainian counterpart.
Trump denied claims he abused his office by repeatedly urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to probe his rival Joe Biden -- as confirmed in a call transcript released by the White House.
The next explosive episode in the rapidly unfolding impeachment drama is set for Thursday, when acting director of national intelligence Joseph McGuire testifies on Capitol Hill.
"They are getting hit hard on this witch hunt because when they look at the information, it's a joke," Trump said, as he struck an uncharacteristically subdued tone at his first news conference since Democrats launched an official impeachment inquiry.
The publication of the transcript sent new shockwaves through Washington, including within the ranks of Trump's Republican Party, with Senator Mitt Romney and Senator Ben Sasse referring to it as very "troubling," while top Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer called for the contents of the complaint to be made public.
In announcing the impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump's actions amounted to a betrayal of his oath of office and of national security.