Donald Trump launches fresh attack on impeachment Democrats on Christmas Eve

The president accused the Democrats of obstructing the Senate inquiry

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after participating in a video teleconference with members of the U.S. military at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Donald Trump on Tuesday took another swipe at the leading Democrats that have called for his impeachment, as he awaits a Senate hearing in the new year to determine his fate as US president.

On Christmas eve, Mr Trump took to Twitter to criticise Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is leading the impeachment trial against him. He also attacked Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat.

“Everything we’re seeing from Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer 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,” Mr Trump said.

“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.”

The embattled president was referring to the recent calls from the Democrats to include witnesses in the Senate hearing, which will likely be held next month.

Despite being impeached by the House, which is run by the Democrats, the president is likely to be acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate in the new year, as it would require 20 GOP members to flip from party line and vote to impeach Mr Trump.

But in a blow to Mr Trump, Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this week he will not rule out witnesses in the Senate trial.

Furthermore, on Monday, it was revealed in a leaked internal email that a US budget official told the Pentagon to "hold off” on military aid to Kiev 90 minutes after a controversial phone call between Mr Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

In the tweets on Tuesday, Mr Trump also accused the Democrats of obstructing the Senate inquiry.

The follow up trial is expected to be held in January, but the Democrats have not yet handed over the articles of impeachment voted through in the House to the Senate. Before doing so, they want assurances from Mr McConnell that their chosen witnesses – at least four current and previous White House aides with knowledge of the Ukraine dealings – will be allowed to testify.

Mr Trump is the third US president in history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1968 and Bill Clinton in 1999.

Mr Trump is accused of withholding $400 million in assistance to Ukraine to push Kiev to investigate Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential frontrunner and his main rival in the 2020 leadership election.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump also commented on international affairs. He shrugged off North Korea’s recent threat that they would deliver “a Christmas gift” to the West, with many saw to mean a nuclear missile test.

Speaking at this Mar-a-Lago Florida resort, he said the United States would deal with the “gift” successfully.

“"We'll find out what the surprise is and we'll deal with it very successfully,"

"Maybe it's a nice present," he added. "Maybe it's a present where he [Kim Jong Un] sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test."

Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned the US that it would deliver a “Christmas gift”, after Pyongyang gave Washington a deadline of the end of the year to admit new concessions to diffuse the tension between the two states.

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