Trump weighs testifying on impeachment after silencing his aides

Alex Wayne

Donald Trump said Monday that he’s “strongly considering” testifying in his own impeachment inquiry, responding in a tweet to a suggestion from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after again insulting her and congressional Democrats for pursuing his removal from office.

Trump indicated that he thinks his testimony – possibly in writing – would be a way to resolve the inquiry and get Congress focused on issues he’d like to advance before his 2020 re-election campaign, including a new North American trade deal and drug prices.

The president’s tweet contrasts with his defiant approach to the impeachment inquiry thus far. The White House has refused to provide access to documents and witnesses, creating a stand-off between the two branches of government and leaving current members of the administration stuck in the middle.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event on healthcare prices in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Washington.

Some, including the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Alexander Vindman, have defied the order not to comply with congressional subpoenas. Others, including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and his deputy Charles Kupperman, have sued to force a court decision on whether they should testify.

Read more of the latest updates from the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry/

Trump’s suggestion, though, echoes his move during Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. After months of negotiation between his lawyers and Mueller, the president agreed only to answer a limited set of questions in writing.

Pelosi said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Trump “has every opportunity to present his case,” including by testifying under oath or submitting a written statement to impeachment investigators.

Trump and many congressional Republicans have demanded public testimony by the anonymous whistle-blower who first raised alarms about the president’s effort to force the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rivals. Pelosi said she wouldn’t allow the person’s identity to be exposed.

“I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistle-blower,” the California Democrat said. “This is really important, especially when it comes to intelligence, that someone who would be courageous enough to point out truth to power and then through the filter of a Trump-appointed inspector general who found it of urgent concern” and “then took it to the next steps.”

Several witnesses in the inquiry have corroborated the whistle-blower’s allegation that Trump sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into investigating a company once connected to former Vice PresidentJoe Biden’s son, Hunter. The effort was led by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.