Trump says he might be willing to testify in impeachment inquiry
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump on Monday indicated publicly for the first time that he might be willing to testify in the impeachment inquiry over his efforts to pressure Ukraine “even though I did nothing wrong.”
Lawmakers in the Democratic-led impeachment process in the US House of Representatives have not formally called Trump as a witness in the inquiry into whether he used foreign policy to try to get Ukraine to investigate domestic political opponent Joe Biden.
During former US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US election, Trump said he was willing to testify but ultimately gave only written answers. House Democrats said on Monday they are investigating whether those answers are untruthful, according to CNN.
Denying any wrongdoing, the Republican president has railed on Twitter and elsewhere against the impeachment inquiry and attacked witnesses by name.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on Sunday in a CBS interview that Trump has every opportunity to present his case, including coming before intelligence committee hearings.
“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focussed again, strongly consider it!” Trump said on Twitter.
At the heart of the inquiry is a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open a corruption investigation into former U.S. Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and into a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.
The hearings could pave the way for the House to approve articles of impeachment – formal charges – against Trump. That would lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. Republicans control the Senate and have shown little support for Trump’s removal.
House Speaker Pelosi, in her interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” said: “The president could come right before the committee and speak all the truth that he wants if he wants to take the oath of office … or he can do it in writing. He has every opportunity to present his case.”
Trump’s written answers to federal investigators in the Mueller probe were under renewed scrutiny on Monday, CNN said. The House’s general counsel told a federal court in Washington that lawmakers were examining whether the answers were untruthful, the report said.
Last week, Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, testified in the trial of Trump ally Roger Stone that Trump’s 2016 campaign was keen to keep abreast of the release of emails by WikiLeaks website potentially damaging to the Republican’s opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Gates’ testimony appeared to conflict with sworn written statements that Trump gave Mueller, CNN reported.