I won’t face impeachment, insists defiant Donald Trump
The US president said ‘absolutely nothing’ incriminating against him had came from weeks of testimony.
Donald Trump has said he does not expect to be impeached, as he claiming Democrats have “absolutely nothing” incriminating against him.
His comments came despite days of public testimony by witnesses who said the president withheld aid from Ukraine to press the country to investigate his political rivals.
Mr Trump told Fox & Friends on Friday: “I think it’s very hard to impeach you when they have absolutely nothing,” though he said he would welcome a trial in the Senate if the House did vote to impeach him.
Witnesses including State Department officials, current and former US ambassadors and an ex-White House Russia analyst have provided evidence in the recent impeachment public hearings.
Testimony indicated Mr Trump explicitly ordered US government officials to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on matters related to Ukraine, a country deeply dependent on Washington’s help to fend off Russian aggression.
The witnesses relied on emails, text messages and contemporaneous notes to back up their recollections from the past year.
Stitched together, analysts say their hours of televised testimony paint a portrait of an American president willing to leverage his powerful office to push a foreign government for personal political help. That alone has many Democrats on the brink of voting to impeach Mr Trump before the end of the year, potentially pushing towards a trial in the Senate.
Yet the witness accounts left one prominent hole that offered a lifeline for Mr Trump and his Republican allies.
None of the witnesses could personally attest that Mr Trump directly conditioned the release of 400 million US dollars (£311 million) in military aid on a Ukrainian announcement of investigations into former vice-president Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.
Some Republicans suggested that even if that link could be made, it would not be enough for them to support impeaching Mr Trump and removing him from office. And without that link, the president’s wall of support among GOP politicians seems formidable.
Democrats now face the prospect of a House impeachment vote split along party lines. That would mirror public polling, which shows Americans divided over whether Mr Trump should be impeached for his dealings with Ukraine and removed from office.
Mr Trump insists he was only holding back aid to root out corruption in Ukraine.