Just hours after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced on Sept. 24 that the House of Representatives would begin an official impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, he's already going on the offensive. Shortly after labeling the revelation as "presidential harassment" and a "witch hunt," the president took to Twitter to shift his focus to the opposing party. Donald Trump's tweets about the House's impeachment inquiry goes in on Democrats and suggests that they should "apologize" now that the details of the rough, non-verbatim transcript of his call with a Ukrainian leader have become public.
It's been a whirlwind in Washington since Pelosi revealed on Sept. 24 that the House was pursuing a formal impeachment inquiry in response to Trump allegedly pressuring foreign leaders to investigate his political opponents. "Today, I'm announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry," she said. "I'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry." In a statement to Elite Daily, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said,
The Democrats continue to weaponize politics when they should be working on behalf of their constituents, which is nothing new. President Trump is working hard on behalf of our country here in New York City while they continue to scream the word impeachment. Nothing new here.
At question are Trump's references to 2020 presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden during a July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The call was first reported as part of a Sept. 18 story from The Washington Post, which reported that a whistleblower had filed a complaint alleging that Trump had made a "troubling" promise to a foreign leader. The complaint, which has not been made public, also reportedly referenced the call with Zelensky. The president later called the report "ridiculous," but admitted to talking to Zelensky about Biden and released a "non-verbatim" transcript of the call that he said would vindicate him. Elite Daily reached out to Biden for comment on Trump's remarks and the call, but did not hear back at the time of publication. Before the transcript's release, the president took to Twitter to tell his followers, "You will see it was a very friendly and totally appropriate call," while labeling the whistleblower's claims as "ridiculous" and "partisan."
Trump went even further on the inquiry itself. The president took to his social media platform of choice Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to slam the opposing party for "presidential harassment" and starting a "witch hunt."
"There has been no President in the history of our Country who has been treated so badly as I have," he tweeted. "The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!"
Trump also claimed that the whistleblower "never even saw the transcript of the call," writing, "Secretary of State Pompeo recieved [sic] 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!"
Trump also called out several prominent Democratic figures for their decision to begin impeachment proceedings, writing, "Pelosi, Nadler, Schiff and, of course, Maxine Waters! Can you believe this?" He suggested that the Democrats should "apologize" as it was a "perfect call."
On Wednesday, Sept. 25, a non-verbatim transcript of the call between him and the Ukrainian president was released, showing that Trump had indeed urged Zelensky to look into the former vice president and his son. He also addressed the aid that the United States provides to Ukraine, saying, "I will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort and a lot of time."
While it was not a verbatim transcript, per the Trump administration, the conversation did address Trump's claims — for which he hasn't offered evidence — that Biden was responsible for removing a Ukranian prosector who had opened an investigation into a company that his son Hunter was linked to.
Despite the president's claims to journalists on Sept. 25 that it was a "nothing call," the fact that Trump urged a foreign leader to investigate a domestic political opponent is not likely to sit well with many lawmakers. Meanwhile, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff revealed that the whistleblower is planning to provide testimony as early as this week, so it sounds like more details (and tweets) will come in the days ahead.