White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Thursday that Trump wants to launch a trial in the US Senate with former US Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the anonymous whistleblower - whose original complaint claimed Trump may have abused the power of his office during a 25 July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky - among the witnesses.
"We were in the Oval Office and we were having a conversation about these hearings. The president did nothing wrong. He wants that plain and clearly explained to the American people. But he also feels that there is no basis to move forward at all in the House. But if they do, he wants a trial in the Senate. He wants to be able to bring up witnesses like Adam Schiff, like the whistleblower, like Hunter Biden, like Joe Biden. And he says if the House moves forward with the sham and they continue to push these fake, illegitimate proceedings onto the American people then he wants it to go to the Senate and he wants a trial", Gidley said, cited by Fox News.
In September, House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower alleged that Trump abused the power of his office by pressuring Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, claiming that Trump withheld nearly $400 million in US military aid - a charge Republicans deny, pointing to the release of the cash several weeks prior to a July 25 request by Trump, even though Ukraine never launched a Biden investigation.
Trump declassified what the White House claims is the full, unedited transcript of his telephone call with Zelensky. The president denied wrongdoing in his dealings with Ukraine. Trump has also inexplicably attempted to paint the impeachment inquiry as a political "witch hunt" by Democrats.
According to Politico, citing sources, a group of Republican Senators met Thursday with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, as well as senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, to discuss strategy regarding the ongoing impeachment probe.
GOP Senators reportedly concluded during the meeting that there is a lack of votes to approve a motion to dismiss the trial, but stressed that it would take just three Republicans to block an impeachment vote on the Senate floor, Politico said, citing sources.