Skip to main content

U.S. President Donald Trump has denied wrongdoing and defended a July 25 phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump added muscle to the legal team defending against an impeachment investigation led by congressional Democrats on Wednesday, after 2020 re-election rival Joe Biden called for the first time for his impeachment.

Biden, who is at the centre of a controversy over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine that led the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives to open an impeachment inquiry, had previously refrained from making an outright plea for impeachment.

Trump continued to paint the probe as a partisan smear, and accused the U.S. intelligence officer who filed the whistle-blower complaint that sparked the furor of having political motives. He also added former U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, best known for his investigations of the administration of Trump’s Democratic predecessor, to his outside legal team.

Story continues below advertisement

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Biden, the Democratic front-runner to face Trump in next year’s presidential election, took the gloves off.

“With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself. By obstructing justice, refusing to comply with a congressional inquiry, he’s already convicted himself,” Biden said. “In full view of the world and the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation and committed impeachable acts.”

“To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.”

Trump fired back on Twitter.

“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong,” Trump wrote.

The House began impeachment proceedings against Trump last month over his attempts to have Ukraine’s president investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Despite Trump’s allegations, which he made without evidence, that Biden engaged in improper dealings in Ukraine, there are few signs the controversy has damaged the Democratic former vice president’s 2020 prospects.

Story continues below advertisement

Public opinion polls, including those taken by Reuters/Ipsos, have shown Biden’s support remaining relatively stable.

WHISTLE-BLOWER’S LAWYERS RESPOND

Trump on Wednesday again described the inquiry as a partisan attack.

“It turns out that the whistle-blower is a Democrat, strong Democrat, and is working with one of my opponents as a Democrat,” Trump told reporters.

Lawyers for the whistle-blower responded in a statement, denying that political factors had influenced the complaint.

“Our client has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party,” they said in a statement. “Our client has spent their entire government career in apolitical, civil servant positions.”

The day after the White House declared its refusal to co-operate with the impeachment probe, Trump added that he would respond if House Democrats “give us our rights.”

Story continues below advertisement

The addition of Gowdy to Trump’s legal team marked a pivot from late September, when outside lawyer Jay Sekulow said there were no plans to beef up the legal team. Sekulow announced Gowdy’s hiring on Wednesday.

The three congressional committees leading the inquiry were working on final arrangements on Wednesday to interview the whistle-blower.

The State Department this week abruptly blocked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who had been in touch with Ukrainian officials on Trump’s behalf from speaking to the inquiry.

The investigation is focused on whether Trump used almost $400-million in congressionally approved aid to Ukraine as leverage to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to begin an investigation of the Bidens.

Trump has defended the July 25 phone call to Zelensky.

Most Democrats want to impeach Trump, even if that means weakening their party’s chances of winning back the White House in 2020, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Story continues below advertisement

The poll, conducted on Monday and Tuesday, found that 55 per cent of Democrats said their party leaders should press ahead with impeachment even “if it means a lengthy and expensive process that could weaken their chances of winning the presidency in 2020.”

An even higher number – 66 per cent of Democrats – agreed that Congress should pursue impeachment, “even if that means they will need to postpone efforts to pass laws that could benefit me.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies