DONALD Trump last night branded an impeachment inquiry launched against him as “presidential harassment”.
He also vowed to release the “full” vital transcript of his controversial call to Ukraine’s president at the centre of the growing scandal.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky was allegedly asked to investigate Trump’s 2020 election rival Joe Biden – on threat of losing $400million in US military aid[/caption]
The US president has been accused of attempting to enlist the foreign power to smear Democrat rival Joe Biden for his own political gain.
But Trump responded to leading Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s dramatic impeachment announcement with a flurry of furious tweets.
He reacted with outrage after it was revealed the Democrat-led House of Representatives would begin proceedings that could oust him from office.
Trump wrote: “Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage.
“So bad for our Country!”
Naming some of his most prominent Democrat critics, Trump added: “Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?”
He said: “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!”
And in a final furious salvo, Trump blasted: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
He later kept up his attack, writing: “Secretary of State Pompeo recieved permission from Ukraine Government to release the transcript of the telephone call I had with their President.
“They don’t know either what the big deal is.
“A total Witch Hunt Scam by the Democrats!”
Earlier, President Trump insisted a transcript of his call to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky would vindicate him.
A whistle-blower has claimed Trump tried to pressure Zelensky to investigate the business activities of Biden’s son Hunter – on threat of losing $400million in US military aid.
Biden had previously been accused of threatening to withhold aid to Ukraine unless it fired a prosecutor whose office was probing a natural gas company where his son Hunter, 49, was a board member.
However, Ukraine’s current prosecutor, Yuriy Lutsenko, said in May he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son.
ADMITS DISCUSSING BIDEN
The US president said: “It couldn’t have been nicer and even the Ukrainian government put out a statement that that was a perfect call, there was no pressure put on them whatsoever.
“But there was pressure put on with respect to Joe Biden.
“What Joe Biden did for his son, that’s something they should be looking at.”
Trump said that he would authorise the release of a transcript of the conversation – but Democrats want the full whistle-blower complaint.
Making his pledge, Trump said a “complete, fully declassified and unredacted transcript” of the July 25 call would be released on Wednesday.
Trump later said on Twitter the transcript would show the call was “totally appropriate”.
He added: “No pressure and, unlike Joe Biden and his son, NO quid pro quo!
“This is nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”
‘WON’T BE VERBATIM’
But former White House and national security officials have warned the transcript is not likely to be a verbatim recording of what was said.
Standard White House protocol suggests a transcript is likely to be put together from written notes by US officials who listened in on the call.
At least two and sometimes more note-takers from the National Security Council would have been present, a former senior NSC official said.
Their notes serve as the principal record of such calls – as opposed to electronic recordings.
Any transcript released by the White House would also likely be incomplete, according to Evelyn Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense during the Obama presidency.
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Note-takers usually do not include issues that could be controversial if they became public, she said.
Farkas added: “Typically a note-taker will write notes about what the principal says in a fashion that does not embarrass their principal.”
The White House had no comment.
What is impeachment and how does it work?
IMPEACHMENT is a formal charge of serious wrongdoing against a holder of public office in the United States.
It is one of the few ways a sitting president can be kicked out of the White House before an election.
The US Constitution states a president “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours”.
The “sole power of impeachment” is held by the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress.
A simple majority is required – i.e. more than half of Representatives must vote to impeach the president.
Then the case would be tried by the Senate, the upper chamber of Congress, where a two-thirds majority is needed.
While the Senate is still controlled by the Republicans, with 53 of the 100 seats, the Democrats have control of the House of Representatives, with 235 of the 435 seats.
This means that it’s possible for the House of Representatives to pass a vote to impeach the president.
However, a two-thirds majority of 67 Senators voting to impeach Trump would still be needed in the Senate when it is tried.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ‘no one is above the law’ as she announced the launch of impeachment proceedings against President Trump[/caption]
Biden had earlier been accused of threatening to withhold aid funding to Ukraine over a probe into a gas company that his son worked for[/caption]
Hunter Biden, 49, worked for a Ukrainian natural gas company[/caption]
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