US: As impeachment probe intensifies, Donald Trump calls investigation a ‘coup’

The administration of United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday raged about the House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation.

Trump criticised his political rivals and claimed the impeachment inquiry was a “coup”. “As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on House Democrats’ efforts to get the depositions from State Department officials, and accused lawmakers of “intimidating and bullying” them, CNN reported. Pompeo wrote to Eliot Engel, chairperson of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and told him that the proposed dates for depositions “do not provide adequate time for the Department and its employees to prepare” and that the request was “not feasible”.

However, Engel and two other Democratic committee official accused Pompeo of “stonewalling” the impeachment inquiry and called him a “fact witness” in the investigation.

“I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs,” Pompeo said in a tweet.

In a subsequent tweet, he wrote: “Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State.”

After a whistleblower complaint last week, Democrats started an investigation on Trump’s request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a July 25 phone call to investigate domestic political rival former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is a leading Democratic contender in the fight to contest against Trump in the 2020 election. The inquiry could lead to a trial in the Senate on whether to remove Trump from office.

The unidentified whistleblower is reportedly an intelligence agent who accused Trump of soliciting foreign interference for his personal political benefit.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the matter and repeatedly attacked the investigation.

On Friday, the United States special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker resigned. He will reportedly depose before the congressional committees along with former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Also read: How Ukraine and its president view the Donald Trump impeachment controversy

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