Trump Responds to Impeachment Charges: ‘Witch Hunt’

December 10, 2019 Updated: December 10, 2019

One hour after House Democrats announced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, he defended himself, accusing Democrats of corruption and again claiming they’re involved in a biased “witch hunt.”

Trump described House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) as a “totally corrupt politician” after Schiff laid out the case against Trump in a Tuesday morning press conference. The president noted that Schiff read out a made-up phone call after the inquiry was initially launched, before having to apologize for the deception.

It was a “horrible and fraudulent statement” that was read out to Congress by Schiff, who “said those words came from” Trump, the president wrote on Twitter. “He got caught, was very embarrassed, yet nothing happened to him for committing this fraud. He’ll eventually have to answer for this!”

Schiff later said his version of the transcript of Trump’s phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a “fable.” He added words that were not spoken by Trump while appearing to read from the transcript of the July 25 phone call. During his opening remarks, he described the transcript of the Trump-Zelensky call as “a classic organized crime shakedown.” He added, “This is the essence of what the president communicates.”

Trump, in a tweet on Tuesday, then called on Americans to “read the transcripts” of his calls—including the July 25 one (pdf)—with Zelensky. He referred to the “us” part of his plea to Ukraine’s leader: “I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.”

“‘Us’ is a reference to USA, not me!” he wrote.

Democrats have said Trump allegedly withheld military aid to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens before the 2020 election. They have also said the president obstructed Congress after the White House, Trump, and other officials didn’t adhere to subpoenas sent out by Schiff’s committee.

Earlier in the day, Trump pilloried House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-N.Y.) claim that the president is attempting to interfere in the 2020 election.

“Ridiculous, and he knows that is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there ‘WAS NO PRESSURE.’ Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!” he wrote.

On Dec. 2, Zelensky again rejected the quid pro quo claim alleged by Democrats.

“Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Zelensky told Time magazine. He said he doesn’t “understand at all” the allegations made against Trump during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearings. He has denied the allegations in the press several other times.

Nadler, in the press conference, outlined two articles of impeachment against Trump: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“No one is above the law,” he said.

“In abusing his office in this manner, and in obstructing the investigation that followed, we know that President Trump has put himself before his country,” Nadler also said on Monday.

It’s not clear when the House will hold a vote on the two articles. Reports have said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) caucus is seeking to vote before Dec. 20, coming ahead of the Christmas recess.