Trump administration calls impeachment inquiry 'a coup'

Elias Hubbard
October 2, 2019

US President Donald Trump has ramped up his rhetoric on an impeachment inquiry by opposition politicians threatening his presidency, labelling it a "coup" created to "take away the power of the people".

Over the past few days, the Democratic chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees have issued subpoenas to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and scheduled depositions with a series of other current and former officials, as well as associates of Giuliani, as they seek to unearth more evidence of potential wrongdoing by Trump.

On Twitter, Trump lashed out at his political rivals, and called the impeachment inquiry a "coup" that intends to "take away the power of the people".

"The Greatest Witch Hunt in the history of our Country!" the 73-year-old leader posted.

Pompeo has been subpoenaed by the congressional impeachment inquiry of the president's dealings with Ukraine, which comes after reports stated that he was on the call where Trump tried to get a foreign power to investigate the former vice president and possible 2020 opponent Joe Biden. Zelenskiy agreed during the call to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden and expressed interest in buying more USA arms in the form of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Democrats have accused Trump of a policy of stonewalling legitimate congressional inquiries.

Democrats have ramped up their scrutiny of President Trump's interactions with Ukraine since an anonymous whistleblower's complaint went public.

Pompeo meanwhile accused three Democratic House committee heads conducting the impeachment inquiry of "an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State".

But Democrats said the top USA diplomat was "stonewalling" the investigation and, according to media reports, scheduled interviews with at least two of the diplomats who had direct involvement in the Ukraine matter.

Two officials who had been asked to testify in the impeachment investigation of U.S. President Donald Trump have agreed to provide depositions, an official with a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee said on Tuesday.

As he spoke in Rome, Pompeo told reporters "I was on the phone call".

Though less crude and less crazed than Trump's suggestion that Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, might be guilty of treason, Pompeo's response was outrageous and sounded more like the posturing of a partisan politician - Pompeo's role when he was a member of the House - than what we expect from the head of the Cabinet department traditionally regarded as nonpolitical.

"I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead", Pompeo said. Trump's former special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, will appear before the panel on Thursday, the official said.

The impeachment inquiry could lead to approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against Trump in the House. Mueller's report did not establish that Trump conspired with Russian Federation, while leaving it up to Congress to decide whether he obstructed justice.

Morrison said on Wednesday that the phone call last month in which Trump sought help was brief and uneventful.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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