Sun, 26 Jan 2020

WHITE HOUSE - The president of the United States is terming as a "witch hunt" the two impeachment counts unveiled against him Tuesday morning by House Democrats.

Trump referred to that often used term again in a two-word tweet following the announcement by House committee chairs to proceed with the punitive legislation process against him.

Trump also rejected House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler's statement on Tuesday that he had pressured Ukraine to interfere in next year's presidential election.

"Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there "WAS NO PRESSURE," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!"

Nadler says his committee will meet this week to consider the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The committee will need to vote on the articles of impeachment before they can be sent to the full House, controlled by the Democrats, for consideration.

Lawmakers of both the Democratic and Republican parties predict Trump will be impeached in the House but not found guilty in a trial by the Senate, which is controlled by the president's party.

White House officials also view the president's impeachment as inevitable and predict it will not harm "and perhaps could even embolden" the base that supports him by the time of next November's national election.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats in Congress of having planned to oust Trump since he was inaugurated in January 2017.

"The announcement of two baseless articles of impeachment does not hurt the President, it hurts the American people, who expect their elected officials to work on their behalf to strengthen our Nation. The President will address these false charges in the Senate and expects to be fully exonerated, because he did nothing wrong," says Grisham.

Trump is also criticizing the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation following the release of the Justice Department's inspector general's report examining the FBI's investigation of Trump's 2016 election campaign.

The report found fault with the bureau's handling of the probe but found no direct evidence of political bias for its launch.

Director Christopher Wray "will never be able to fix the FBI," Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Wray, the previous day, said he accepts the findings of the 435-page report.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, however, is insisting despite the report's finding, the FBI launched "an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken."

Trump takes the side of the attorney general and is disagreeing with the FBI director, both of whom the president appointed.

"I don't know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn't the one given to me," Trump tweeted. "With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!"

The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election and has expressed concerns that Moscow will try to do the same again in 2020.

Trump, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is scheduled to meet at the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later Tuesday.

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