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Trump brushes off worries about CUSMA vote as impeachment inquiry opens

Trump accuses Democrats of creating ‘manufactured crisis’
WATCH: Trump accuses Democrats of creating 'manufactured crisis'

U.S. President Donald Trump voiced skepticism on Wednesday over whether House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a vote on the new U.S-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (CUSMA) after Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry against him.

While U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he was confident CUSMA would come up for a vote and pass, Trump told him in front of reporters that he knows “these people” better, referring to Democrats.

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“I don’t think Nancy Pelosi will have time,” said Trump. “She’s wasting her time on a, you know let’s use a word that they used to use a lot: a ‘manufactured crisis.'”

Pelosi announced on Tuesday that Democrats in the House of Representatives had launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump, accusing him of seeking foreign help to smear Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of next year’s election.

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“I don’t know whether or not they’re going to have time to do any deals,” Trump said. “I don’t think they can do any deals. You know, we were working on guns, gun safety.”

Lighthizer later said was confident CUSMA would come up for a vote because it is an extremely good agreement and “if it did not pass it would be a catastrophe for our economy.”

READ MORE: Scheer says he will ratify CUSMA despite saying Trudeau gave everything to Trump

He said Democrats had asked for specific and sensible things where they wanted assurances.

“We should modify this … legislation to accommodate their needs. This should be a bipartisan bill,” Lighthizer said.

Speaking to reporters during a campaign stop in B.C., Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked whether he thought the possibility of impeachment would impact CUSMA.

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Federal Election 2019: Trudeau says Scheer ‘wanted us to cave’ on NAFTA
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Trudeau said he’s focused on moving the deal forward.

We’ve always been focused on the ratification of USMCA in a way that tries to go beyond the partisan differences in the United States right now,” he said. “Our focus remains on ensuring that this deal, which is good for Canadians but also good for Americans and Mexicans, moves forward. And that’s what our what we’re going to remain focussed on.”

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Trudeau added that the previous agreement, NAFTA, remains in place until CUSMA is ratified.

READ MORE: Tech firms want Congress to pass U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact soon

In regards to specific concerns, we have right now a NAFTA in place that is securing our access to the most important partner and our most important market and secures nine million jobs,” he said.

“We renegotiated a new NAFTA that will continue to secure those until the new one is brought in the old one remains in place and Canadians can be assured that we have solid access even at a time of unpredictability and protectionism from the United States.

— With Global News files