U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected talk among Democrats about the possibility of launching an impeachment inquiry against him in the aftermath of the Russia probe, saying he did nothing to merit such an outcome.
Talking to reporters on the White House South Lawn ahead of a trip to Colorado, Trump grew animated in reacting to a statement from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday.
Mueller said his report on Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential campaign intentionally did not clear nor accuse Trump of obstruction of justice. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under pressure from some Democrats to support an impeachment inquiry, said in reaction to Mueller’s statement that “nothing is off the table.”
Asked if he expected to be impeached, Trump said: “I don’t see how … It’s a dirty, filthy, disgusting word … It’s a giant presidential harassment.”
He cited the U.S. Constitution’s language that a president can be charged with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“There was no crime. There was no misdemeanor,” he said.
Trump, in a morning tweet, had left the impression that he was acknowledging that Russian interference helped him win the 2016 election over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Answering questions from reporters, he said the exact opposite.
“No, Russia did not help me get elected,” he said, adding that he needed no help in winning the election.
Trump heaped scorn on Mueller, calling him conflicted and noting that Mueller is a close friend of former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired weeks after taking office in early 2017.
“I think Mueller is a true ‘never Trumper,'” said Trump.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)