Trump paints impeachment as attack on voters, guns, healthcare

US President Donald Trump is seeking to rally his most ardent supporters after a week of damaging headlines.
US President Donald Trump is seeking to rally his most ardent supporters after a week of damaging headlines.PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - United States President Donald Trump mounted a defence to the Democrats' impeachment investigation on Saturday (Sept 28) by saying the opposition party is trying to oust him because he is fighting for the voters who elected him, and that the future of the country is at stake.

Mr Trump's approach signals a new effort to rally his political base to counter the growing threat to his presidency.

He argued that Democrats are undertaking "the single greatest scam in the history of American politics" and portrayed the investigation as part of a campaign by the opposition party to take away everything from guns to healthcare.

"It's all very simple, they're trying to stop me because I'm fighting for you - and I'll never let that happen," he said in a video he tweeted to his 65 million Twitter followers, in which he appears outside the White House.

Mr Trump is seeking to rally his most ardent supporters after a week of damaging headlines, including revelations that the President asked Ukraine's leader to investigate top Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a July phone call.

Mr Trump also continued to defend his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as having been appropriate. The US President said the fact Mr Zelensky - speaking to reporters during a meeting with Mr Trump last week at the United Nations - said he didn't feel pressure to investigate Mr Biden "should by and of itself bring an end to the new and most recent Witch Hunt". Mr Trump's call with Mr Zelensky was summarised in a partial transcript released last Wednesday.

Democrats have said that the mere fact that Mr Trump suggested investigating a top political rival to a foreign leader raised grave concerns, as did the President's request for Mr Zelensky to look into Ukraine's role in the 2016 US election.

DEMOCRATIC 'SAVAGES'

The President has responded to those claims with scorn, calling members of the opposition party "savages" in a tweet early on Saturday, and subsequently calling for the resignation of Mr Adam Schiff, the California Democrat and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who will be heading up the impeachment inquiry.

A poll released Thursday by NPR News and Marist found that while Americans favoured impeaching Mr Trump by a narrow 49 per cent to 46 per cent margin, 93 per cent of GOP voters opposed the effort.

 
 
 

The President's campaign advisers have argued that the effort will ultimately backfire on Democrats. The President's son, Mr Eric Trump, tweeted that the campaign had raised US$8.5 million (S$11.7 million) in small-dollar donations following the Democrats' announcement of the impeachment inquiry.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale said the campaign and Republican National Committee were planning a joint ad buy of US$10 million with a commercial arguing that Democrats are trying to use the impeachment probe "to steal the election".

"Democrats want to deny Americans the opportunity to vote to re-elect President Trump and people need to know the facts," Mr Parscale said.

The White House hasn't formalised a new operation to handle the impeachment inquiry. Mr Jay Sekulow, the President's outside attorney, said his team would continue to respond as they had in prior cases. "There is no war room being established," he said.