Impeachment cloud darkens Trump's Florida Thanksgiving break
US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida on November 26, 2019. Trump is in Florida for a rally and to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
AFP/Mandel Ngan
Impeachment cloud darkens Trump's Florida Thanksgiving break
Sebastian Smith (Agence France-Presse) - November 27, 2019 - 8:40am

WASHINGTON, United States — President Donald Trump branded his political enemies "wolves" on Tuesday ahead of a campaign rally and Thanksgiving break at his Florida home already being spoiled by the threat of impeachment.

With the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives announcing the next phase of impeachment will open December 4, there is little chance of Trump escaping political storm clouds as he spends the rest of the week in the Sunshine State.

The Democratic chairman of the committee, Jerry Nadler, announced the new phase -- which could lead to articles of impeachment -- with an invitation for Trump to attend.

"The committee looks forward to your participation," Nadler said.

But Trump began his day by lashing out on Twitter at "the D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media."

In keeping with his favored response to moments of crisis, Trump will hold a rally later Tuesday in Sunrise, Florida, reconnecting to his right-wing voter base.

The state is a key piece in the electoral puzzle for the 2020 presidential election and recently became Trump's legal home, after he announced he was switching residence from his native New York. 

Trump can be expected to use the rally with his red-hatted core supporters to emphasize his grip on the Republican party and his readiness for what will likely be the most polarized and bitter presidential election in generations.

He will then retreat to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort on Florida's Atlantic coast.

However, the relaxed setting is unlikely to soothe a president increasingly frustrated and angered by what he calls a Democratic "witch hunt."

Impeachment even made its way into the quirky annual ritual of a presidential pardon for two enormous turkeys at the White House.

"They've already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff's basement on Thursday," Trump joked to guests in the Rose Garden, referring to the head of the intelligence committee leading the impeachment probe in the House of Representatives.

Trump also managed to get in a dig at the media, which he almost daily berates as fake, saying journalists would like Tuesday's story because "turkeys are closely related to vultures."

Conspiracy theories

Forecasts are for balmy temperatures all week at Trump's golf course and official private residence in Mar-a-Lago.

Back in chilly Washington, Democrats plan to keep working through the Thanksgiving break on what looks like a fast track to making Trump only the third president ever to be impeached.

Once the Judiciary Committee produces articles of impeachment, the full House, dominated by Democrats, can vote to impeach. 

Trump is accused of abusing his office by pushing Ukraine to announce a politically damaging probe into one of his main 2020 rivals, Joe Biden. 

Although the Republican-led Senate will almost certainly acquit him, this is not the way that Trump, who often boasts of being among the most successful US presidents, wants to go down in history.

There was more pressure on the administration late Monday when a Washington appeals court ruled that White House aides cannot continue to dodge subpoenas for testifying before the Democratic-led impeachment panel. 

The administration will launch a further appeal, tying up the case, but the ruling, which applies specifically to Trump's former White House lawyer Don McGahn, raises the temperature.

Trump sought to downplay the development, insisting on Twitter that he doesn't care if his top current and former associates, including his fired national security advisor John Bolton, testify.

"I would actually like people to testify," he said Tuesday, although his administration has banned aides participating with the inquiry.

He said that McGahn "already stated that I did nothing wrong."

Portraying himself as a victim, Trump has frequently said he is the "most unfairly treated" leader in history.

He claims the investigations into his murky relationship with Ukraine and Russia are a "hoax" and a "witch hunt," and almost daily he gives credence to right-wing conspiracy theories that his own US intelligence services have debunked.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 6, 2020 - 10:24am

Monitor updates on the impeachment investigation into US President Donald Trump.

February 6, 2020 - 10:24am

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi denounces the Senate's acquittal of President Donald Trump and says he remains "an ongoing threat to American democracy."

"Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution," Pelosi says in a statement issued after the Senate acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles passed by the House.

"The President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to," Pelosi says. — AFP

February 6, 2020 - 9:12am

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the Senate's acquittal of President Donald Trump on Wednesday and said he remains "an ongoing threat to American democracy."

"Today, the President and Senate Republicans have normalized lawlessness and rejected the system of checks and balances of our Constitution," Pelosi said in a statement issued after the Senate acquitted Trump of both impeachment articles passed by the House.

"The President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to," Pelosi said.

The Republican-majority Senate voted 52-48 to acquit Trump of abuse of power and 53-47 to acquit him of obstruction of Congress. — AFP

February 6, 2020 - 8:06am

US President Donald Trump drew on staunch Republican support to defeat the gravest threat yet to his three-year-old presidency on Wednesday, winning acquittal in the Senate on impeachment charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Only the third US leader ever placed on trial, Trump readily defeated the Democratic-led effort to expel him from office for having illicitly sought help from Ukraine to bolster his 2020 re-election effort.

Trump immediately claimed "victory" while the White House declared it a full "exoneration" for the president — even as Democrats rejected the acquittal as the "valueless" outcome of an unfair trial. — AFP

January 26, 2020 - 1:43pm

Donald Trump demanded the dismissal of Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador to Ukraine and a key figure in the president's impeachment trial, according to a video recording released to US media on Saturday. 

The footage was reportedly taken during an April 2018 donor dinner at a hotel and released to news outlets by an attorney for Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. 

Parnas and his business partner Igor Fruman are key players in Trump's alleged campaign to pressure the government of Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential election opponent for the president. 

The issue is central to Trump's ongoing impeachment trial in the US Senate. — AFP

January 25, 2020 - 3:39pm

Donald Trump's lawyers prepare to deliver his first full-throated defense Saturday in the Senate's historic impeachment trial, after Democratic prosecutors spent three days making their case for the US president's removal from office.

Capping 24 total hours of arguments, Democrats tell the 100 senators that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that would help him politically, and then sought to block efforts by Congress to investigate.

Democrats say they had met that burden of proof, as lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff warned that Trump would remain an "imminent threat" to American democracy if he stays in power. — AFP

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