- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fox News fixture Geraldo Rivera said in an interview out Tuesday that most everything alleged by Democrats pushing to convict President Trump is “probably true,” just not criminal in nature.

Mr. Rivera, a longtime friend of the president’s, made the comment during an interview conducted by the media-news site Mediaite released amid Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

“I believe that everything the Democrats allege is probably true. Everything they allege,” said Mr. Rivera.

The veteran broadcaster appeared to disagree that Mr. Trump was involved in alleged efforts to secretly spy on his administration’s ousted former ambassador to Ukraine, however.

“I concede everything that the Democrats allege, except the hunting of the ambassador. But I believe that they hounded her out of office to get her out of the way. I believe that probably,” Mr. Rivera added.

Mr. Rivera also described Mr. Trump’s outreach to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “very unnecessary,” and that his effort to have Ukraine investigate White House hopeful Joseph R. Biden was “seedy.”

“None of it was criminal,” Mr. Rivera continued. “If there was a crime, they would have spelled it out. I firmly believe no crime, no conviction in the impeachment trial.”

The House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump last month — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — triggered in part by the president pushing Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, while the U.S. withheld millions of dollars in critical aid to Ukraine.

Congress has since obtained messages suggesting Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, was being secretly monitored in Kiev prior to being removed from that role.

The State Department has since interviewed hundreds of people at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine as part of a probe into the alleged surveillance, BuzzFeed News reported Saturday.

Mr. Rivera, 76, described Mr. Trump during the Mediaite interview as a longtime friend and “hangout buddy.”

Despite expressing reluctance about supporting Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, Mr. Rivera indicated he was whole-heartedly opposed to efforts to remove him from office, however.

“I didn’t vote for him last time, and I may not vote for this time. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the Democrats get away with what I consider to be a very lame and hypocritical and partisan witch hunt,” he said.

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