U.S. President Donald Trump says he does not expect to be impeached, claiming Democrats have “absolutely nothing” incriminating, despite days of public testimony by witnesses who said Trump withheld aid from Ukraine to press the country to investigate his political rivals.
Trump told “Fox & Friends” on Friday, “I think it’s very hard to impeach you when they have absolutely nothing.”
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Trump said if the House did vote to impeach him, he would welcome a trial in the Senate.
“I want a trial,” he said.
Witnesses including State Department officials, current and former U.S. ambassadors and a former White House Russia analyst provided evidence in the House impeachment public hearings.
Testimony indicated Trump explicitly ordered U.S. government officials to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on matters related to Ukraine, a country deeply dependent on Washington’s help to fend off Russian aggression.
But Trump says he was only holding back aid to root out corruption in Ukraine.
Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president is at the centre of the House impeachment probe, which is looking into Trump’s pressure on Ukraine as he held back nearly $400 million in aid.
During the interview, Trump continued to promote a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. His comments come one day after a former White House security adviser called the theory a “fictional narrative.”
Trump said he was trying to root out corruption in the Eastern European nation when he withheld aid over the summer.
Trump said, “There was no quid pro quo,” contradicting testimony by impeachment witnesses.
Trump also defended his use of a private lawyer, Giuliani, to work on Ukraine. Giuliani’s role is under increasing scrutiny in the inquiry.
Trump claims he directed Giuliani to tackle corruption in Ukraine because of his reputation as a “great crime fighter.”
“Rudy Giuliani is one of the greatest crime fighters of all time,” he said.
— With files from Reuters