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'I like the idea': Trump says he will strongly consider giving evidence at impeachment inquiry

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants”.

Donald Trump speaking to media last week.
Donald Trump speaking to media last week.
Image: UPI/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has hinted that he might be prepared to give evidence at the House impeachment inquiry following an invitation to do so from the chamber’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi issued the invitation ahead of a week when several key witnesses are expected to give evidence. Trump said in a tweet he “liked the idea” and would “strongly consider it”.

The president has often complained that the process is stacked against him, prompting Pelosi to suggest the president should appear or answer questions in writing, if he chooses.

“If he has information that is exculpatory, that means ex, taking away, culpable, blame, then we look forward to seeing it,” she said in an interview that aired on CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday.

Trump “could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants”, she said.

Trump tweeted today saying he might be willing to offer written evidence, saying: “She also said I could do it in writing.”

“Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump “should come to the committee and testify under oath.”

“And he should allow all those around him to come to the committee and testify under oath,” Schumer told reporters.

He said the White House’s insistence on blocking witnesses from cooperating begs the question: “What is he hiding?”

The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a second week of public hearings as part of its inquiry, including with the man who is arguably the most important witness.

Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, is among the only people interviewed to date who had direct conversations with the president about the situation because the White House has blocked others from cooperating with what it dismisses as a sham investigation.

Evidence suggests he was intimately involved in discussions that are at the heart of the investigation into whether Trump held up US military aid to Ukraine to try to pressure the country’s president to announce an investigation into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading 2020 candidate, and Biden’s son Hunter.

Multiple witnesses overheard a phone call in which Trump and Sondland reportedly discussed efforts to push for the investigations.

In private evidence to impeachment investigators made public on Saturday, Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide and long-time Republican defence hawk, said Sondland told him he was discussing Ukraine matters directly with Trump.

Morrison said Sondland and Trump had spoken approximately five times between 15 July and 11 September, the weeks that $391 million in US assistance was withheld from Ukraine before it was released.

He recounted that Sondland told a top Ukrainian official in a meeting that the vital US military assistance might be freed up if the country’s top prosecutor “would go to the mike and announce that he was opening the Burisma investigation”.

Burisma is the company that hired Hunter Biden.

Morrison’s evidence contradicted much of what Sondland told congressional investigators during his own closed-door deposition, which the ambassador later amended.

Trump has said he has no recollection of the overheard call and has suggested he barely knew Sondland, a wealthy donor to his 2016 campaign.

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