The impeachment drive against President Donald Trump is in full swing – but he believes that the inquiry should’ve already ended, saying both Ukraine and phone calls released by the White House have ruled out any “quid pro quo.”
Responding to a reporter’s question on impeachment, Trump bluntly said that he “should not be” impeached, and that the whole story effectively ended on Friday. The reason for that, he said, was a statement by Kiev denying any quid pro quo during Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky.
“Ukraine – they came out loud and clear that there was no linkage whatsoever, not even a little bit,” Trump said, slamming the media for not reporting on Ukraine’s statement. “That was a major statement put out last night by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine and also by the President of Ukraine, and you don’t even report it. It’s a disgrace, because it said: There was absolutely no linkage. We had a perfect conversation.”
Trump’s grudge with the media could be justified here, as the mainstream coverage was consumed by the impeachment testimonies, and surely not by what the “victimized” Ukrainian side had to say.
On Friday, the White House released a tweet citing Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko supposedly disproving Ukrainegate’s cornerstone charge of quid pro quo.
The original source for the article cited was Prystaiko’s Thursday briefing in Kiev, where he addressed allegations that Trump pressured the Ukrainian leader into opening a probe into his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had been on the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings’ board of directors – all this in return for US military aid.
I have never seen a direct link between investigations and security assistance. Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events.
This is not the first time Kiev officials rejected the idea of quid pro quo, including Zelensky himself – but it has hardly convinced the Democrats trying to impeach the president that the latest anti-Trump saga is falling apart.
Trump meanwhile lambasted the impeachment hearings as a “disgrace”, arguing that Republicans were “not allowed to do anything.”
“It’s totally – nobody has ever had such horrible due process. There was no due process,” he said, branding the inquiry “a political process.”
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Trump supporters point out that the investigation has yielded no evidence that could be used as grounds for impeachment. The Adam Schiff-chaired process, however, keeps delivering accounts and incidents that the Democrats argue are “impeachable” offenses. One such incident that triggered the anti-Trump camp was him criticizing ex-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter in “in real-time” during her testimony at the Friday hearing. Schiff called it “witness intimidation.”
Trump has brushed off the idea that his tweets could be “intimidating.” Confronted with a question on Yovanovitch feeling “threatened” and “intimidated” by his words, he said: “I don’t think so at all.”
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