- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 26, 2019

President Trump said Thursday the impeachment campaign against him has made it difficult to deal with foreign leaders, stepping up his post-Christmas attacks against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, with no resolution in sight for a Senate trial.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the president said the allegations he has faced from House Democrats over the past few years — alleged collusion with Russia and the pending trial over his call with Ukraine’s president — have made it hard to carry out his duties on the world stage while constantly defending himself. He didn’t offer specifics.

“Despite all of the great success that our Country has had over the last 3 years, it makes it much more difficult to deal with foreign leaders (and others) when I am having to constantly defend myself against the Do Nothing Democrats & their bogus Impeachment Scam. Bad for USA!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

The president also said the delay is proving that House Democrats lied about being motivated by an urgency to remove him from office.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats said they wanted to RUSH everything through to the Senate because ‘President Trump is a threat to National Security’ (they are vicious, will say anything!), but now they don’t want to go fast anymore, they want to go very slowly. Liars!” Mr. Trump tweeted.

And Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said Thursday that lawmakers should not try to remove a president in an election year, unless they believe his remaining in office would “irreparably damage” the country.

“Well the Pelosi 2 week vacation proves, this is an unlawful coup for partisan political purposes. The taxpayer should not have to pay,” Mr. Giuliani tweeted.

The president even renewed his attacks on Mrs. Pelosi’s congressional district as “filthy dirty” and “one of the worst anywhere in the U.S.” Calling her “crazy,” Mr. Trump suggested she should face a 2020 primary challenge.

Mr. Trump spent much of his day Thursday at his golf club near West Palm Beach, Florida, where he is staying with his family for the Christmas holidays.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer remain at an impasse over how the impeachment trial should be conducted once Mrs. Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Democrats are demanding at least four witnesses at the impeachment trial — former and current White House aides, including former National Security Adviser John R. Bolton. Mr. McConnell has said the chamber should stick with the same process afforded to President Clinton two decades ago.

During Mr. Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999, the Senate unanimously agreed to hear from the House impeachment managers, and then from the president’s team, before deciding whether to call witnesses. Senators ultimately decided against witnesses.

But Mr. Schumer and Mrs. Pelosi have both joined forces, insisting that individuals close to the president should be forced to testify, including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Mrs. Pelosi is withholding the articles of impeachment passed last week on a party-line vote, not transmitting them to the Senate until, she said, Democrats are guaranteed a fair trial.

Republicans are left scratching their heads as to what leverage Mrs. Pelosi thinks she has in making demands to the Republican-led Senate on how it carries out its duty.

“I’m not anxious to have this trial, so if she wants to hang on to these papers, go right ahead,” Mr. McConnell told Fox News on Monday.

The articles of impeachment charge the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate can carry on its regular business until the articles of impeachment are transferred.

The stark partisan divide on impeachment all but assures Mr. Trump will be acquitted by the Senate, where it would take a two-thirds majority to convict and remove the president from office.

So far Republicans have remained united, except for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, who has been mum on the charges against Mr. Trump. The moderate lawmaker did criticize Mr. McConnell this week for saying that he was coordinating with the White House counsel’s office ahead of the trial.

“When I heard that, I was disturbed,” Ms. Murkowski told KTUU, an NBC affiliate.

Republicans charge that House Democrats rushed their case against Mr. Trump, deciding not to go to court to get documents and witnesses during the three-month impeachment inquiry. They say the executive branch is entitled to assert privileges, and it is up to the judiciary to settle that squabble.

Democrats accuse Mr. McConnell of trying to run a sham trial and being incapable of acting as an impartial juror because he is “in cahoots” with the White House.

The House Democrats’ abuse-of-power charge stems from Mr. Trump asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a leading candidate to oppose Mr. Trump in the 2020 general election, while temporarily withholding U.S. military aid. Mr. Trump’s defenders say the president wanted to probe corruption tied to a Ukrainian energy company that paid Hunter Biden about $50,000 a month to sit on its board during Mr. Biden’s time as vice president.

The second charge arises from Mr. Trump refusing to comply with subpoenas from the impeachment inquiry, which also is being litigated in federal court.

The president took another swing Thursday on Twitter at Mrs. Pelosi and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, pointing out the enormous homeless population in her district and overall in the state. California leads the nation, with about a quarter of the total U.S. homeless population. Mrs. Pelosi’s district, which includes San Francisco, has a visible homeless problem with reports suggesting many have been priced out of their homes.

“Nancy Pelosi’s District in California has rapidly become one of the worst anywhere in the U.S. when it come to the homeless & crime. It has gotten so bad, so fast — she has lost total control and, along with her equally incompetent governor, Gavin Newsom, it is a very sad sight!” the president tweeted.

In a tweet earlier this week, the president said if Mr. Newsom can’t fix the problem, the federal government will have to step in to help.

• Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report.

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