President Trump conceded on Friday that Democrats likely had enough votes to impeach him, but he suggested that Speaker Nancy Pelosi hold a House vote to formally begin an inquiry to force a Senate trial on whether to remove him from office.
“They’ve taken away our rights,” Trump told reporters Friday.
“They’re all in line. Because even though many of them don’t want to vote, they have no choice. They have to follow their leadership. And then we’ll get it to the Senate, and we’re going to win.”
Trump boasted of a “very unified” Republican Party that would protect him from conviction, but some Republicans publicly broke ranks with him Friday. At least two GOP senators and one former administration official expressed discomfort with Trump’s efforts to encourage foreign governments to investigate former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson met with lawmakers Friday to discuss a whistleblower complaint alleging abuse of power by Trump. Atkinson, who is a Trump appointee, previously said that the whistleblower “appeared credible” and that the complaint represented an “urgent concern” worthy of Congress’s immediate attention.
And documentsreviewed by The Washington Postshowed that Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, defended Biden in a statement to Congress that directly undercut Trump’s claims of corruption by the former vice president.
“I know him as a man of integrity and dedication to our country,” Volker said in his testimony Thursday.
On Friday, Trump continued to take a combative stance and cast himself as a victim of overzealous Democrats. “We’ve been treated very unfairly, very different from anybody else,” he said.
Republicans have struggled to find a consistent defense of Trump in the wake of the whistleblower’s report, which was published last week. The anonymous whistleblower claimed that Trump pushed for the Ukrainian government to investigate his political rival.