- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2019

Buoyed by trade deals and buffeted by an impeachment inquiry, President Trump stated the obvious Friday during a White House sit-down with a foreign leader.

“This has been a wild week,” he said.

Mr. Trump sat down with Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez moments after Chinese officials announced they’ve agreed to a phase-one trade deal. It signaled new progress on the White House trade agenda after Mr. Trump toasted bipartisan agreement this week on his rewrite of the 25-year-old North American trade deal.

“It’s tremendous for our country,” he said of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Yet the House Judiciary Committee also forward articles of impeachment to the full chamber early Friday, dampening his victory lap as literal raindrops fell on Washington.

Democrats allege Mr. Trump abused his power in requesting political investigations from Ukraine and then obstructed Congress by refusing to provide documents or allow certain witnesses to testify about a delay in military aid to the Eastern European ally.

“It’s a witch hunt. It’s a sham. It’s a hoax,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “You’re trivializing impeachment.”

He also fumed at House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, dubbing him “crooked,” and slammed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — one of his own employees — as a “real beauty.”

Lt. Col. Vindman is an officer and National Security Council staffer who testified in connection with the impeachment hearings.

Mr. Trump emphasized “lieutenant” in his remarks, presumably alluding to the witness’ decision to correct a GOP lawmaker who failed to use his full title during the House hearing.

Mr. Trump said the American people will reject the Democrats’ effort.

“The people are disgusted,” he said.

“It’s a very sad thing for our country but it seems to be very good for me politically,” he added. “The polls have gone through the roof for Trump.”

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