Trump slams Democrats’ impeachment effort: ‘They can’t beat me in the election’
The question of impeachment was never far from President Trump in Davos, even as he used his appearance at the gathering of political and business leaders to tout his country’s economic strength at the start of election year in America.
Speaking to reporters at the World Economic Forum earlier on Wednesday, the president said he had managed to watch “enough” of the marathon session in the Senate, and that he thought his legal team had done “a very good job”.
Mr Trump said the impeachment proceedings were a “hoax” cooked up by Democrats who are scared they will be unable to beat him at the ballot box.
“They are looking at this tremendous success, the likes of which they have never seen before in this country, and it has driven the Democrats crazy … They can’t beat me in the election,” he said.
He also repeated his urge for people to read the transcripts of his July 2019 telephone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, which sparked the impeachment inquiry.
“Everyone would say: ‘you mean that’s an impeachable event?’ If that’s impeachable Lyndon Johnson would have had to leave office on his first day.”
Schumer blasts White House counsel for ‘factual errors’
Courtney Weaver, US political correspondent
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer teed off ahead of today’s impeachment hearing, lambasting the White House defense lawyers for “demonstrable factual errors” in their opening statements on Tuesday.
Mr Schumer alleged that the White House defense – which includes Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump’s personal legal team, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone – were “unprepared, confused and totally unconvincing”, resorting instead “to the kind of histrionics you see on Fox News evening broadcasts…”
Mr Schumer also accused the lawyers of making “inflammatory and factual errors” against the House impeachment managers – the seven Democratic lawmakers who are charged with making the case against the president. Mr Cipollone, for instance, incorrectly accused Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, of refusing to allow Republicans to access closed-door depositions during the impeachment inquiry.
Separately, Mr Schumer also laid into his Republican Senate colleagues for refusing to back amendments to subpoena additional witnesses, before the opening arguments are concluded, as well as seek additional documents. Republicans “don’t want a fair trial that considers all the evidence,” Mr Schumer alleged.
He added: “The impeachment trial of President Trump begins with a cloud hanging over it – a cloud of unfairness.”
Welcome to day two of the FT’s live coverage of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump
Yesterday, the president’s defence team and Democratic impeachment managers from the House debated a series of proposals from Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, to subpoena additional documents and witness testimony. Each amendment was rejected in a party-line vote.
Be sure to read this story by Demetri Sevastopulo and Lauren Fedor, who write that Senate Republicans remained unified on the road to ultimately approving the rules for the trial.
Stay tuned for more news and analysis from our team of reporters in Washington today, as impeachment managers and Mr Trump’s defence team begin oral arguments.