Trump will ‘strongly consider’ testifying in impeachment probe
Donald Trump has said he will “strongly consider” giving evidence at the impeachment hearing after an invitation by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Ms Pelosi made the invitation ahead of a week when key witnesses are expected to appear.
The hearings are part of a process that could – in theory – see the president fired over whistleblower claims he pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate his likely presidential rival Joe Biden and his son.
Mr Trump tweeted on Monday: “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”
….that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt. She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2019
The president suggested such evidence to the House of Representatives inquiry could be in writing.
On Sunday, Ms Pelosi had responded to the president’s claims that the hearings are unfair to him and a political witch-hunt
“If he has information that is exculpatory – that means “ex”, taking away, “culpable”, blame – then we look forward to seeing it,” she said in an interview on CBS’s Face The Nation.
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Mr Trump “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants”, she said.
Another political opponent, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, said Mr Trump “should come to the committee and testify under oath” and let “all those around him” do the same.
The man regarded by many as probably the most important witness is set to testify at the public hearing this week.
Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, is believed to have been involved in the discussions at the heart of the allegations: that Mr Trump held up military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into Mr Biden and his son.
Witnesses say they overheard a call in which Mr Trump and Mr Sondland discussed efforts to bring about the investigations.
Mr Trump denies the allegations, says he cannot remember such a call and has suggested he barely knew Mr Sondland.
On Saturday, former National Security Council aide Tim Morrison said in private evidence made public that Mr Sondland had told him he was discussing Ukraine matters with Mr Trump.
He said Mr Sondland and the president had spoken about five times between 15 July and 11 September this year – the weeks that $391m in US aid was withheld before later being released.
He also said Mr Sondland had told a top Ukrainian official that the aid might be freed up if its top prosecutor “would go to the mike” and announce the investigation.
Mr Sondland is due to testify on Wednesday.