President Donald Trump on Tuesday rejected the possibility of U.S. lawmakers censuring him over accusations he improperly pressured Ukraine to probe a political rival, as a congressional committee prepared to layout Democrats’ case for impeachment.
Trump, speaking at a wide-ranging, nearly hour-long news conference at the NATO summit in London, lashed out at Democrats in the House of Representatives leading the impeachment inquiry into the Ukraine matter.
Trump also denounced the censure idea raised by some members of Congress as “unacceptable”.
The Democratic-controlled House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on its findings later on Tuesday.
The matter will then go to the House Judiciary Committee, which will launch its proceedings on Wednesday.
The full House would then vote on the formal impeachment charges, setting up a trial in the Republican-led U.S. Senate if it passes the lower chamber.
So far, analysts doubt Trump’s fellow Republicans would convict and remove him from power, although some lawmakers have raised the idea of censure in recent days as a way to rebuke the president’s actions without the risk of removal from office.
“I did nothing wrong. You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong,” Trump said in London.
“Not only wasn’t there a crime, it is not even a word that should be used,” Trump continued.
“I had a very, very good conversation with the head of Ukraine. And, by the way, yesterday, he came out again and reaffirmed again that we had a very, very respectful, good conversation that President Trump did nothing wrong.”
“He doesn’t even really understand what’s going on over here. They look at us like: ‘Is this country crazy?’”
“The Democrats have gone nuts, they’re crazy. And it is very bad for our country,” Trump added.
Should Congress vote to censure Trump, it would make him only the second president in history to be explicitly reprimanded. In 1834, President Andrew Jackson was censured by the Senate in a fight over the survival of the Bank of the United States.
In Washington on Tuesday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee plan to release their findings in their impeachment probe before turning it over to the Judiciary Committee, which is holding its first hearing on Wednesday.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Monday said the panel was finalising its report for a public release on Tuesday, with panel members expected to vote on it Tuesday night.
Republicans, in a rebuttal report released on Monday, said that Democrats had not established that Trump had committed an impeachable offense.
At issue is whether the Republican president misused the power of his office to pressure Kiev to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Lawmakers and the public have heard testimony from current and former officials that military aid was withheld from Ukraine.
A White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was conditioned on Kiev probing Biden and his son Hunter as well as a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine interference in the 2016 U.S. election.
Coronavirus Spread Is Accelerating And We’re In A ‘Grave Situation’ — Chinese President, Xi Jinping
China’s president, Xi Jinping has held a special meeting to address the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
At the policy meeting, President Xi said the killer coronavirus spread is accelerating and that the nation faces a “grave situation.”
According to the TV report, resources and experts will be channelled to designated hospitals to tackle the virus. Supplies to Hubei province will be guaranteed and cost won’t be a hindrance.
Since the outbreak of the killer coronavirus, forty-one people in China have died from the disease which originated in Wuhan, a city in Hubei province. At least 17 cities in Hubei have also been locked down with more than 1,280 cases confirmed worldwide.
According to researchers, the virus, which can cause pneumonia, fever, difficulty breathing, and a cough may have been transmitted to humans from snakes.
34 US Troops Left With Brain Injuries After Iran’s Revenge Airstrikes
About thirty-four US soldiers have been diagnosed with concussion or traumatic brain injury following the Iranian missile attack on US bases, the Pentagon has confirmed.
The strikes were launched on January 8 in retaliation for the death of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a United States drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump.
The Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said on Friday that eight service members who had been previously transported to Germany had been moved to the United States.
This comes days after Trump played down the injuries, saying service personnel had suffered “headaches” in the aftermath.
President Trump had said that the US “suffered no casualties” from the attack, which was a reprisal for the US drone strike assassination of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani.
Questioned later about reports of brain injury, Trump downplayed their severity: “I heard that they had headaches. And a couple of other things. But I would say, and I can report, it is not very serious.”
Hoffman confirmed the injuries on Friday, adding: “This is a snapshot in time, what he wanted to make sure is that you’re provided with the most accurate numbers.”
Michael Kaplen, chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State said that he was “shocked at the ignorant statement” made by Trump.
“To equate traumatic brain injuries as just a headache is insulting and disrespectful to the thousands of military service members suffering from the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict,” he said.
He added that the condition, also known as TBI, is a “life-altering” injury.
“It’s physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral consequences affect every aspect of an individual’s life,” he said. “A brain injury is only ‘mild’ if it is someone else’s brain. There is nothing “mild” about a mild brain injury.”
BREAKING: Coronavirus Cases Confirmed In France, First In Europe
Two cases of the coronavirus have been “confirmed” in France, the first in Europe, French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said on Friday.
The first case involved a patient in a hospital in the southwestern city of Bordeaux while the other was in Paris, the minister told reporters.
The SARS-like virus has claimed 26 lives since it emerged on December 31 in a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
As of Friday, more than 800 people have been infected across China, with 177 in serious condition. Authorities were also examining 1,072 suspected case.