‘A total Witch Hunt!’ Trump lashes out at House Democrats opening an impeachment inquiry against him

President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the InterContinental Barclay hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Associated Press
  • President Donald Trump called reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to announce an impeachment inquiry against him as “a continuation of the witch hunt” and “a positive” for him.
  • “Our country’s doing the best it’s ever done, they’re going to lose the election,” Trump said of the Democrats, according to Washington Post reporter Anne Rumsey Gearan. “They say it’s a positive for me.”
  • Pelosi is reported to announce at a 5 p.m. press conference that she will create a select committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
  • It was reported recently that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky multiple times to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden‘s dealings in Ukraine during a July 25 phone call.
  • That phone call is now at the centre of an unprecedented whistleblower complaint that a US intelligence official filed against Trump last month.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Tuesday announcement that the House plans to open an impeachment inquiry against him as “a total Witch Hunt!” in comments to reporters and tweets.

“Our country’s doing the best it’s ever done, they’re going to lose the election,” Trump said of the Democrats, according to Washington Post reporter Anne Rumsey Gearan. “They say it’s a positive for me.”

He added: “We have the strongest economy we’ve ever had we have the best unemployment numbers we’ve ever had, African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, lowest in history. Best numbers we’ve ever had. Our country is doing phenomenally well. We have rebuilt our military … so the country’s doing the best it’s ever done, and I just heard that she’d like to impeach,” according to the pool report.


Outlets including The Washington Post and The New York Times have reported that at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Pelosi will announce the creation of a select committee to conduct an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

Earlier this year, about half of the House Democratic caucus, including many progressive Democrats, called for Trump to be impeached after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report from his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Mueller’s final report did not find that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election, but identified 11 separate instances of potential obstruction of justice in which Trump attempted to hamper the Mueller probe itself and other federal investigations.

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Pelosi and other Democratic leaders still did not back proceedings to impeach Trump on charges of obstruction of justice, warning that the process would “divide the country.”

But the tide dramatically shifted in favour of launching an impeachment inquiry over the past two weeks when Rep. Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, announced he had become aware of an official intelligence whistleblower complaint involving Trump.

As of Pelosi’s announcement, 169 House Democrats – including several in House leadership and many who represent competitive Republican-leaning districts – had publicly backed an impeachment inquiry, according to The New York Times’ count.

The Washington Post first reported the complaint had to do with Trump’s conversation with a foreign leader. The Wall Street Journal broke the news that the whistleblower complaint was related to a conversation Trump had in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Subsequent reporting – much of which Trump has confirmed – indicates Trump withheld $US400 million in US military aid to Ukraine previously appropriated to Congress, which he later released earlier this month.

It has also been reported that Trump encouraged Zelensky to investigate a claim, for which there is no clear evidence, that Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, engaged in corrupt activity while serving on the board of a Ukrainian oil and gas company.

Trump has also been accused of engaging in a quid-pro-quo with a foreign government to withhold taxpayer-funded aid appropriated by Congress in exchange for that government interfering in a future election.

Read more:

A mysterious exchange between Trump and a foreign leader is Washington’s latest obsession. Here’s what’s actually going on.

But many House Democrats including Pelosi have argued that even without an explicit quid pro quo, Trump enlisting a foreign government to do his bidding – and potentially using US taxpayers dollars as leverage at the expense of US security interests – is a clear violation of the oath of office he took to uphold and defend the constitution.

Speaking to reporters at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump confirmed that he discussed both US military aid to Ukraine and “corruption” in its legal system as it relates to the Bidens, but has maintained that the call was “appropriate” and he didn’t say anything incriminating.


Later on Tuesday, Trump also tweeted that he plans to release the full transcript of his call with Zelensky, telling reporters on Tuesday, “how can you do this and you haven’t even seen the phone call?”

But many congressional Democrats argue that since the whistleblower complaint reportedly includes concerns about more than just one phone call between Trump and Zelensky, the Director of National Intelligence should release the entire complaint to Congress.