Friday, October 25, 2019

Trump dismisses need for impeachment team: 'I'm the team'

Brett Samuels 
12:59 PM EDT

President Trump on Friday dismissed the need for a bolstered team to defend him against House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.

"Here’s the thing. I don’t have teams. Everyone’s talking about teams. I’m the team. I did nothing wrong," Trump told reporters outside the White House before leaving for an event in South Carolina.

The comment came as part of a lengthy rant against the impeachment inquiry, which Trump derided as a "phony deal" focused on a "perfect" call he had with the Ukrainian president. He went on to say that if anything came of this inquiry, he thinks it could plunge the country into economic downturn.

"I will say this: If anything ever happened with this phony witch hunt that the Democrats are doing ... I really believe you’d have a recession, depression the likes of which this country hasn’t seen," Trump said, questioning how Democrats could impeach "one of the most successful presidents."

The president's tangent started with a question about reports that the Department of Justice has opened a criminal inquiry into how its own probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election began.

House Democrats are pursuing an impeachment inquiry into allegations that Trump abused his office by pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate a domestic political rival. Several former administration officials have testified thus far, with some giving damaging testimony against the president
"Lots of stuff happening behind those closed doors eh?"

Trump's insistence that he does not need additional help fighting the impeachment inquiry comes as many in the Republican Party have expressed exasperation with the lack of a coordinated White House message on the topic.

The White House has repeatedly downplayed the need for a so-called war room to fight impeachment by maintaining that Trump did nothing wrong.

"We’re doing the best we can," press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday. "Honestly messaging isn’t that hard. There was no quid pro quo, the president did nothing wrong."

The president's comments on Friday morning followed reports that the White House is mulling the addition of former Treasury Department spokesman Tony Sayegh or former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to lead messaging efforts.


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