US President Donald Trump expressed during an interview with Fox and Friends his willingness to go to trial in the US Senate, while at the same time advising the House Democrats that they "should never, ever impeach" him.
Why would Trump want something like that – couldn’t it potentially cost him his office? He insists that while there is "nothing" in the impeachment probe showing that he is guilty of any misconduct, a trial could give him the chance to ask Democrat Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment proceedings, and the anonymous whistleblower, whose complaint set the probe in motion, tough questions that he has long wanted to ask.
"I want a trial. I want to see Adam Schiff testify about the whistleblower – who’s a fake whistleblower", he said.
POTUS namely sought to enquire why Schiff, whom he has called a "nut job", had made up parts of his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. An incident where Schiff read out purported excerpts from the call that portrayed POTUS in a condemning light has long been labelled by Trump as symbolic of the impeachment process' alleged lack of integrity. The president has said that what Schiff read was a far-cry from the official transcript of the call that was later published by the White House.
Trump has for a long time also wanted to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, despite US laws protecting it. POTUS has insisted that the whistleblower was "fake" and politically "biased" against him. The published whistleblower complaint showed that the individual possessed only third-hand knowledge of the telephone talk with the Ukrainian president, but didn't indicate his political loyalties.
House Democrats believe that Trump used US military aid as leverage in the 25 July talk with Zelensky in order to make him open a criminal investigation into Joe Biden, Trump's possible rival in the 2020 election. Head of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff is currently hearing public testimonies of witnesses in the case, with the White House remaining unrepresented. Afterwards, the House will have to vote on whether the president should be impeached and put on trial in the US Senate, which is currently controlled by the Republicans.
According to the transcript of the 25 July telephone call, Trump had indeed showed interest in Ukraine commencing a probe into alleged misconduct by Biden in 2016, when he was vice president, but showed no signs of POTUS pressuring the Ukrainian president into doing so.
Trump alleges that Biden had used his position to force the then Ukrainian administration of Petro Poroshenko to close a criminal probe into the Burisma gas company, where his son, Hunter, was a board member. The Bidens deny any misconduct in the matter.