Friday 6 December 2019

Trump to 'strongly consider' testifying in writing to probe on Ukraine dealings

Invitation: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Invitation: Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Jill Colvin

US President Donald Trump yesterday said for the first time that he might be willing to testify in writing before the impeachment inquiry into his dealings with Ukraine.

His offer to "strongly consider" the move came as Democrats questioned the truthfulness of his testimony in the Russia 2016 election interference probe.

"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!" Mr Trump said on Twitter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the president to give evidence in front of investigators in the impeachment inquiry ahead of a week that will see several key witnesses appear publicly.

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Rejecting accusations from the president that the process has been stacked against him, Ms Pelosi said Mr Trump is welcome to appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses.

"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 that aired on Sunday on CBS's 'Face The Nation'.

Mr Trump "could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants", she said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer echoed that suggestion.

"If Donald Trump doesn't agree with what he's hearing, doesn't like what he's hearing, he shouldn't tweet.

"He should come to the committee and testify under oath.

"And he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath," Mr Schumer told reporters.

The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a second week of public hearings as part of its inquiry, including with the man who is arguably the most important witness.

Gordon Sondland, Mr Trump's ambassador to the EU, is among the only people interviewed to date who had direct conversations with the president about the situation because the White House has blocked others from co-operating with what they dismiss as a sham investigation.

And evidence suggests he was intimately involved in discussions that are at the heart of the investigation into whether Mr Trump held up US military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure the country's president to investigate Democrats, including former vice president Joe Biden.

Irish Independent

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