US President Donald Trump said Friday he will formally object to Congress’s impeachment enquiry even as he acknowledged that House Democrats “have the votes” to proceed.
The White House was expected to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arguing that Congress cannot conduct an impeachment investigation without first having a vote to authorise it. The letter was expected to say the administration will not cooperate with the probe without that vote.
Trump said the resolution would likely pass, but he predicted it would backfire on Democrats.
“I really believe that they’re going to pay a tremendous price at the polls,” he said, according to Aljazeera report.
Trump’s comments came shortly before the Democrats sent an extensive request for documents from Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Ukraine.
Democrats have made Trump’s request for Ukraine to launch an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden the centrepiece of the probe, as they investigate a whistle-blower complaint that Trump sought to use military assistance for Ukraine to push President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the 2020 Democratic hopeful.
In a summer phone call with Zelensky Trump asked for help investigating the former vice president and his son despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.
In the days before the call, Trump ordered advisers to freeze $400m in military aid for Ukraine – prompting speculation that he was using the money as leverage for information on Biden. Trump has denied that charge but acknowledged he blocked the funds, which were later released, Aljazeera reported.
The White House was set to allow a different request for documents from the president’s staff to go unfulfilled Friday, likely forcing Democrats to make good on their threat to issue a subpoena for the records.
When Pelosi announced that the House was initiating the inquiry, she did not seek the consent of the full chamber, as was done for impeachment investigations into former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
But it is underway, and with a rapidly escalating pace.