- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2019

President Trump on Friday denounced as “corrupt” Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who is spearheading House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

“We have a corrupt politician leading this thing. He lies. He leaks,” Mr. Trump said. “They haven’t treated me properly.”

Mr. Trump made the remarks to reporters as he left the White House en route to a campaign rally in Mississippi.

Mr. Trump said that he believes that he is cooperating with the inquiry, though Democrats accuse him of obstructing the effort.

Mr. Schiff has come under fire from Republicans for his handling of the impeachment inquiry, including for making selective leaks from the closed-door hearing, coaching witnesses and blocking GOP lawmakers from cross-examining witnesses.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, filed an ethics complaint accusing Mr. Schiff of making “false statements” about his early contact with the whistleblower who sparked the inquiry.

The White House has said Mr. Trump will be his own “war room” in responding to the impeachment inquiry, which the House formalized Thursday in a party-line vote.

The impeachment probe is pursuing allegations that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate corruption involving former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, a political rival.

The inquiry stems from a July 25 phone call in which Mr. Trump pressed Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” in investigating Mr. Biden and other corruption allegations. A whistleblower believed to be a CIA official assigned to the White House accused the president of abusing his power for personal gain, including withholding U.S. military aid from Ukraine to force the investigation.

A rough transcript of the call did not show a quid pro quo with the investigation request, but Democrats argue the threat was understood and part of an ongoing pressure campaign of “shadow” foreign policy conducted by Mr. Trump’s private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The testimony provided so far, which has been gleaned from leaked copies of prepared opening remarks and accounts by congressional staff in the room, has largely centered on people’s opinions about what the president was doing when pressing for an investigation.

Mr. Trump wanted an investigation into allegations of corruption involving Mr. Biden and his son Hunter, who got a high-paying job on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, while his father was the point man for Obama White House policy in the country, which is notorious for corruption, especially in the energy industry.

Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to look into a missing Democratic National Committee server that was hacked by Russia during the 2016 presidential campaigns. An American cybersecurity company called CrowdStrike examined the server to probe the hack but it disappeared before it could be handed over to the FBI.

Mr. Trump subscribes to an unsubstantiated theory that the server ended up in Ukraine.

Democratic leaders had until this week resisted putting the impeachment inquiry to a vote, saying the complaints about the process masked Republicans’ inability to defend Mr. Trump’s action, which they describe as an abuse of his office for personal political gain.

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