President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry during an Oval Office meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, describing it as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”
“I’m too busy to watch it. It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax, I’m too busy to watch it. So, I’m sure I’ll get a report,” Trump told reporters when he was asked about whether he is watching it.
“There’s nothing—I have not been briefed. There’s nothing there. I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers, they took some guys off television. You know. I’m not surprised to see it, because [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam] Schiff can’t do his own questions,” Trump added.
He was meeting with the Turkish president at the White House, and will hold a joint press conference later in the day.
The Turkish president was meeting with Trump and other Republicans to discuss his country’s decision to buy Russian air defense systems, and they also plan to talk about Turkeys attack on American allies, the Kurds.
The House Intelligence Committee stated that its public impeachment hearings on Wednesday will include testimony from two State Department officials about the Trump administration’s actions on Ukraine.
The inquiry is focused on a July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Kyiv’s involvement in alleged 2016 election interference as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine. Hunter Biden sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas firm while his father was in office.
During the hearing, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said that the identity of the whistleblower at the focus on the inquiry won’t be revealed.
“We will do everything necessary to protect the whistleblower’s identity and I am disturbed to hear members of the committee who have in the past voiced strong support for whistleblower protections, seek to undermine those protections by outing the whistleblower,” Schiff said during the Wednesday’s hearing.