US President Donald Trump has signalled his readiness to read a transcript of his phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky aloud to Americans so that they can see his point amid the ongoing impeachment proceedings against him.
“This is over a phone call that is a good call. At some point, I’m going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it’s a straight call,” Trump said during an interview with The Washington Examiner.
He insisted “everybody knows” that he did “nothing wrong,” adding that charges against him were nothing compared with those lodged against three other US presidents to face impeachment.
“Bill Clinton did things wrong; Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won’t go back to [Andrew] Johnson because that was a little before my time. But they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong,”, Trump claimed.
He signalled his unwillingness to take part in the impeachment proceedings, adding that “you are setting a terrible precedent for other presidents.”
He also said that he was pleased with testimony of Tim Morrison, former White House official who said earlier on Thursday he was “not concerned that anything illegal was discussed” during the Trump-Zelensky phone call.
House of Representatives Nods Resolution on Impeachment Proceedings
Trump’s interview came as the House of Representatives passed a resolution to proceed with an impeachment inquiry against Trump, with 232 lawmakers voting in favour and 196 against the motion, including two defecting Democrats.
Democrats just put out this fact sheet about the resolution highlighting key parts of it.— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 29, 2019
This gives Republicans some of what they were demanding including President Trump and his lawyers having access to evidence and being able to cross examine witnesses. pic.twitter.com/qxviYkHJqG
The eight-page document describes the processes that will govern the probe, including open hearings and specific time limits for questioning. The process will be managed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is presided over by Rep. Adam Schiff who argued that the resolution would "provide a pathway forward" for the impeachment inquiry.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, for her part, issued a statement objecting to the text of the document.
She insisted in particular that the resolution "does nothing to change the fundamental fact that House Democrats refuse to provide basic due process rights to the Administration.”
“The White House is barred from participating at all, until after Chairman Schiff conducts two rounds of one-sided hearings to generate a biased report for the Judiciary Committee. Even then, the White House's rights remain undefined, unclear, and uncertain – because those rules still haven’t been written,” she added.
Democrats Kick Off Impeachment Prone Against Trump
On 24 September, House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry over a whistleblower complaint that claimed Trump might have abused his power by allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the 25 July phone call to investigate potential corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Trump released the transcript of the call and slammed the impeachment inquiry as a ‘hoax’ and another political witch hunt aimed at reversing the result of the 2016 US presidential election.