President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal judge halts California law targeting Trump tax returns Trump agriculture chief: No guarantee small farms can survive Harris presses Twitter to ‘do something’ over Trump’s ‘coup’ tweet MORE on Wednesday suggested he may cooperate with House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry while railing against their investigation as a “hoax.”
“I always cooperate. This is a hoax,” Trump said during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Wednesday afternoon.
“We will work together with [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and ‘shifty Schiff’ and all of them, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters, using a nickname to refer to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffPompeo, House chairmen clash in impeachment fight Trump says he’s becoming victim of a ‘coup’ Overnight Defense: State approves M weapons sale to Ukraine | Pompeo rejects Dem demands for officials’ testimony | Dems worry about whistleblower’s safety | US, North Korea to hold talks MORE (D-Calif.).
Trump claimed his July conversation with the Ukrainian president that spurred Democrats’ inquiry was not improper and again went on a tirade against Schiff for exaggerating a partial transcript of the call that was released by the White House last week.
“Just so you know, the call was perfect — the real call,” Trump said.
Earlier Wednesday, House Democrats threatened to subpoena the White House for records related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, saying the administration has refused to turn over documents in response to their requests.
Trump accused Pelosi of handing out subpoenas “like cookies” at the press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Democrats have sought testimony from State Department officials as part of their inquiry; however, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo, House chairmen clash in impeachment fight Overnight Defense: State approves M weapons sale to Ukraine | Pompeo rejects Dem demands for officials’ testimony | Dems worry about whistleblower’s safety | US, North Korea to hold talks GOP uneasy with Giuliani MORE has raised concerns about the planned depositions.
Schiff said Wednesday that any effort by the administration to interfere with witness testimony would be taken as evidence of obstruction of Congress.
Trump in his remarks also responded to a breaking New York Times report that Schiff had early knowledge of the whistleblower complaint revolving around his call with Ukraine’s president, suggesting without evidence that Schiff may have helped write the complaint.
Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys who represents the whistleblower, subsequently told The Hill that Schiff did not help the whistleblower write the complaint.
“No help or involvement,” Zaid said.
The president’s remarks come amid widening scrutiny over his July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which is the subject of the intelligence community whistleblower complaint and central to House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
A rough transcript released by the White House last week showed that Trump encouraged Zelensky to investigate unsubstantiated allegations about former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris presses Twitter to ‘do something’ over Trump’s ‘coup’ tweet Poll: 40 percent of Republicans say Trump ‘probably’ mentioned Biden on Ukraine call Pompeo, House chairmen clash in impeachment fight MORE, a Democratic presidential candidate.
Democrats have also raised concerns that Trump held up military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure Zelensky for the investigation of Biden, something Trump has denied.
Trump has also attacked the whistleblower, whose identity remains unknown publicly, accusing the individual of offering an inaccurate account of his call with Zelensky and demanding he be able to interview the person.
The whistleblower’s account of the call, set forth in the redacted complaint released last week, matched with the White House’s memo detailing the call. The whistleblower raised concerns that Trump was using his official position to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election in raising Biden on the call.
Updated: 3: 48 p.m.