(Bloomberg) — Donald Trump mounted a defense to Democrats’ impeachment investigation on Saturday by saying the opposition party is trying to oust him because he’s fighting for the voters who elected him, and that the future of the country is at stake.
Trump’s approach signals a new effort to rally his political base to counter the growing threat to his presidency.
Trump argued 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 health care.
“It’s all very simple, they’re trying to stop me because I’m fighting for you — and I’ll never let that happen,” Trump said in a video he tweeted to his 65 million Twitter followers, in which he appears outside the White House.
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.
Trump also continued to defend his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as having been appropriate. The U.S. president said the fact the Zelenskiy — speaking to reporters during a meeting with Trump this week at the United Nations — said he didn’t feel pressure to investigate Biden “should by and of itself bring an end to the new and most recent Witch Hunt.”
Trump’s call was Zelenskiy was summarized in a partial transcript released on Wednesday.
Democrats have said that the mere fact Trump suggested investigating a top political rival to a foreign leader raised grave concerns, as did the president’s request for Zelenskiy to look into Ukraine’s role in the 2016 U.S. election.
The president has responded to those claims with scorn, calling members of the opposition party “savages” in a tweet early Saturday, and subsequently calling for the resignation of 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 favored impeaching Trump by a narrow 49% to 46% margin, 93% of GOP voters opposed the effort.
The president’s campaign advisers have argued the effort will ultimately backfire on Democrats. The president’s son, Eric Trump, tweeted that the campaign had raised $8.5 million in small-dollar donations following Democrats’ announcement of the impeachment inquiry.
Campaign manager Brad Parscale said the campaign and Republican National Committee were planning a joint ad buy of $10 million with a commercial arguing 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,” Parscale said.
The White House hasn’t formalized a new operation to handle the impeachment inquiry. Jay Sekulow, the president’s outside attorney, said his team will continue to respond as they had in prior cases.
“There is no war room being established,” Sekulow said.
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