During an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday, President Donald Trump shocked the world and said he welcomed an impeachment trial.
Trump says that Democrats’ impeachment inquiry doesn’t allow for due process, but a trial would allow Republican lawmakers the ability to fight back.
Trump later said he does not expect to be impeached, claiming Democrats have “absolutely nothing” incriminating — but if the House did vote to impeach him, he would welcome a trial in the Senate.
During the president’s phone call, Trump said he was trying to root out corruption in Ukraine when he withheld aid over the summer. Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine’s president is at the center of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.
“There is no due process, you can’t have lawyers, we couldn’t have any witnesses,” Trump said of the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry.
“Frankly, I want a trial,” Trump told a stunned Brian Kilmeade. “You know, I think I could have it be…”
“You want a trial?” a stunned Kilmeade replied.
“Oh, I would. Look, number one, they should never ever impeach,” Trump replied. “There should never be an impeachment.”
“That phone call was totally appropriate,” Trump said. “But, assuming these people are as sleazy as they are” Trump would welcome a trial to clear his name.
Trump also undercut the motivation of witnesses at the hearings, including the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump recalled from her post in Kyiv. The president called her an “Obama person” and claimed that she didn’t want his picture to hang on the walls of the American embassy.
“There are a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like,” he said, adding that he asked why Democratic officials were being so kind to her. “’Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,’ he said they told him.
Trump said he viewed her differently. “She’s very tough. I heard bad things,” he said.
He repeated his assertion that Ukrainians might have hacked the Democratic National Committee’s network in 2016 and framed Russia for the crime.
“They gave the server to CrowdStrike, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian,” Trump said. “I still want to see that server. The FBI has never gotten that server. That’s a big part of this whole thing.”
The president in the wide-ranging interview also claimed that he knows the identity of the whistleblower who filed the formal complaint that spurred the impeachment inquiry.
“You know who the whistleblower is. So do I,” Trump told the hosts. Conservative media outlets have identified the whistleblower as Eric Ciaramella. Ciaramella’s lawyer accidentally confirmed his identity on social media on Nov 6.
Trump said he didn’t believe House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., who claims he doesn’t know the identity of the whistleblower.
“If he doesn’t, then he’s the only person in Washington who doesn’t,” Trump said.
Trump told “Fox & Friends” that “there was no quid pro quo,” in his efforts to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine.
The Associated Press contributed to this article