Politics - News Analysis

Trump Loses It in Oval Office and Claims He Didn’t Watch Hearings, ‘I’m Too Busy to Watch It!’

Donald Trump lashed out against the House impeachment inquiry during an Oval Office meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling it a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.”

Trump also said he had been too busy to watch Wednesday’s hearing and hadn’t been briefed, while accusing House Democrats of using “television lawyers” to conduct their questioning.

“I’m too busy to watch it. It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax, I’m too busy to watch it. So, I’m sure I’ll get a report,” Trump told reporters when asked whether he had been watching the hearing.

“There’s nothing — I have not been briefed. There’s nothing there. I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers, they took some guys off television. You know. I’m not surprised to see it, because [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam] Schiff can’t do his own questions,” Trump continued.

Trump is meeting with Erdoğan at the White House, and will hold a joint press conference with him later Wednesday afternoon.

The House Intelligence Committee began its public impeachment hearings on Wednesday with testimony from two State Department officials about the Trump administration’s policy on Ukraine.

The impeachment inquiry is centered on a July 25 phone call during which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a debunked conspiracy about Kyiv’s involvement in 2016 election interference as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine.

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Just before Trump’s comments, Taylor raised concerns about an effort driven by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to leverage a White House meeting and aid to Ukraine in order to push for the investigations. Schiff yielded much of his time to committee counsel Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and onetime MSNBC legal analyst, during the first period of Democrat questioning.

Trump has aggressively pushed back against the inquiry, accusing Democrats of a partisan effort to damage his political prospects. Trump has also taken aim at witnesses like Taylor, a member of his administration, accusing them of being “Never Trumpers.”



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