Trump admits 'we have all the material' in impeachment trial

Alex Woodward
REUTERS

Donald Trump appeared to admit his own obstruction of the impeachment investigation against him when he told reporters that "we have all the material" that the administration has withheld from evidence ahead of his trial in the Senate.

After repeating his claims that he did "nothing wrong" and had a "perfect conversation" with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Trump said his legal team "did a very good job" as his trial began on Tuesday.

"But honestly, we have all the material", he said. "They don't have the material".

During a press conference in Davos, Switzerland, where the president is holding court with global leaders at the World Economic Summit, he falsely claimed that Democrats leading his impeachment "don't talk about my conversation" and "they don't talk about my transcripts" that the president believes exonerate him.

The administration released an amended script between the two presidents on a July phone call, at the heart of Mr Trump's impeachment case, in which he is charged with pressuring Mr Zelensky to open an investigation into his political opponent Joe Biden's son, Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Mr Trump is charged with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after the administration has claimed executive privilege to swat away subpoena requests for documents and has directed officials to ignore requests to testify.

The president also slammed Adam Schiff — who chaired the House Judiciary Committee that pursued the impeachment probe and is now leading the prosecution team against him in the Senate — for creating a "phoney story" that Mr Trump claims is his proof that Democrats lack evidence of his abuse of power.

Mr Schiff's hyperbolic summary of the president's phone call, based on complaints to Congress, preceded the administration's release of an edited transcript of the call.

Mr Trump falsely claimed that "when we released that conversation, all hell broke out with the Democrats, because they said, 'Wait a minute, this is much different than Shifty Schiff told us.'"

During that phone call, Mr Trump reportedly asked Mr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens eight times.

The president told reporters that Democrats "probably didn't think we had transcribers".

He said "the best lawyers in the world have looked at" the call and that the Department of Justice "gave it a sign off".

"All I do is I'm honest", the president said. "I make good deals for my country, and they're honest deals."

The president's legal counsel at the Senate — guided by House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's denial of witness testimony for the trial's rules — has argued against the inclusion of documents and witnesses as the prosecution team pushes for subpoenas for crucial White House evidence that was denied during the House investigation.

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