Donald Trump spends Christmas Eve railing against impeachment

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Donald Trump has launched fresh attacks on the congressional architects of his impeachment, even as the standoff intensified between Democrats in the US House and Republicans in the Senate over the president’s impending trial, and appeared set to last well into the new year.
And on a less grave note, Trump revealed in a video conference with US troops to deliver Christmas greetings that, despite it being the morning of 24 December, he had not yet bought his wife her Christmas present. Then he left for his golf course.
On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Trump accused the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, of uncertainty over the articles of impeachment, voted on in Washington last week, that charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
On Monday House lawyers signaled in court filings that they were mulling an additional article of impeachment against Trump relating to obstruction of justice during the Trump-Russia investigation. They demanded that the former White House counsel Don McGahn testify and requested the release of grand jury material from the investigation.
The current articles of impeachment center on Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate the president’s US political rivals, chiefly 2020 candidate Joe Biden, in return for crucial US military aid to the former Soviet republic.
“Everything we’re seeing … suggests that they’re in real doubt about the evidence they’ve brought forth so far not being good enough, and are very, very urgently seeking a way to find some more evidence,” the president tweeted early on Tuesday.
Trump continued: “The only way to make this work is to ... mount some kind of public pressure to demand witnesses, but McConnell has the votes and he can run this trial anyway he wants to.”
Trump’s effort to recapture the conversation came after Pelosi last week triggered a showdown with the Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, by delaying the official delivery of the two impeachment articles from the House to the Senate in an attempt to negotiate terms for the resulting congressional trial. McConnell has already declared that he has no intention of being an “impartial juror”.
Speaking to reporters in Florida on Tuesday, Trump said of Pelosi: “She’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country” and claimed Democrats “had no evidence at all” about presidential misconduct.
Other Republicans protested about possible moves for additional articles of impeachment.
“Democrats are treating impeachment as an open bar tab, tweeted the South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham. “Time to cut them off, take their car keys away (put GOP in control of the House), and end this insanity.”
Last week, lawyers for the Democrats argued before an appellate court in Washington DC, that Trump-Russia grand jury testimony was relevant to his impeachment.
At the weekend, Schumer said that emails released on Friday showing that military aid to Ukraine was suspended 90 minutes after Trump demanded “a favor” from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy only strengthened his party’s demands for more documentation.
With Congress out of action until early January, leaders from both parties are preparing for weeks with no sign of resolution to the impeachment impasse or a date for the trial, initially expected in mid-January.
“We’ll find out when we come back in session where we are,” McConnell told reporters in Louisville, Kentucky, the state he represents. On Monday, he told Fox News the delay in sending the articles to the Senate was “absurd” and predicted Pelosi would back down “sooner or later”. He added he had “not ruled out” calling witnesses to the eventual trial.
Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach on 24 December, for the third day in a row.
 Donald Trump’s motorcade arrives at the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach on 24 December, for the third day in a row. Photograph: Jim Rassol/AP
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, Trump spoke by video link from his Mar-a-Lago resort with US troops stationed around the world, calling them “tremendous warriors”. He at first joked that they could decline a pay rise due to them in January, before adding: “You’ve earned it.”
When one soldier asked Trump what he had bought first lady Melania Trumpfor Christmas, the president revealed that he is a bit behind on his shopping.
“That’s a tough question,” he said. “I got her a beautiful card … A lot of love. We love our family, and we love each other. We’ve had a great relationship, hopefully like you do with your spouses.”
Then he added: “I’m still working on a Christmas present. There’s a little time left. Not much, but a little time left.”
Pool reporters were invited in to the White House to watch the video address and then ask some questions.
Trump said Democrats “ought to look back on the last year to see how they’ve hurt this country”.
He added: “If you just go by what you see in the papers, it’s incredible what’s going on. We had dirty cops. We had people spying on my campaign. They did terrible things, the likes of which have never been done in the history of our country. It’s very sad.”
This despite the report earlier this month of the Department of Justice watchdog Michael Horowitz that said that despite some serious errors along the way, his principal conclusion was that the FBI’s initiation of the Trump-Russia investigation was justified and was not motivated by political bias against Trump, nor involved what the Trump administration has called“illegal spying”.
Later, for the third day in a row, Trump travelled by presidential motorcade to the nearby Trump International Golf Club.


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