Donald Trump has accused the chairman of the Senate intelligence committee of “making up” details of the phone call with Ukraine’s president at the centre of an impeachment hearing.
Mr Trump accused House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff of having lied to the American people about what was said in the conversation in July between the American president and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Mr Schiff warned the president against attempting to obstruct impeachment proceedings by asking to find out the identity of a whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry.
“This is a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses. It’s an incitement of violence,” Mr Schiff said.
When asked about whether the inquiry is preparing for legal action if the White House attempts to stall the investigation, Mr Schiff, said: “I say the White House needs to understand that any action like that, that forces us to litigate or have to consider litigation, will be considered further evidence of obstruction of justice.
“We are not fooling around. We do not want this to drag on for months and months, which appears to be the strategy [of the White House].”
During the phone call, Trump is accused of asking Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
Mr Trump has said his conversation was “perfect”.
Speaking at a joint press conference with the president of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, Mr Trump said Mr Schiff had “made up” the conversation held between the presidents.
“He actually made it up. It should be criminal, it should be treasonous. He made it up, every word of it made up, and read to Congress as though I said it,” Mr Trump said.
“He should be forced to resign from Congress. Adam Schiff, he’s a low-life.”
“He took that conversation, which was perfect, he said, ‘I can’t read this,’ so he made up a conversation and he reported it and said it Congress and to the American people. And it was horrible, what he said.”
During the press conference, Mr Trump also said that he “knew many people were on the phone”.
State Secretary Mike Pompeo has confirmed that he was also listening to the call.
Speaking in Rome, Mr Pompeo again accused Democrats of “bullying” State Department staff, after he denied a request from the Foreign Affairs committee for witnesses to give evidence as part of impeachment proceedings.
Mr Trump said someone was leaking information to the whistleblower and accused that person of being a “spy”:
“The whistleblower was wrong. The only thing that matters is the transcript of the actual conversation that I had with the president of Ukraine. It was perfect,” the president said.
The US president said that he “did not care” about whether the identity of the whistleblower should be protected.
“I think the whistleblower should be protected if the whistleblower is legitimate.”
Mr Trump is accused by the anonymous whistleblower of abusing the power of his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country” in an attempt to sway the 2020 US election.
Mr Biden, who was vice-president under Barack Obama, is the front-runner to win the Democrats nomination for the election.
Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing, maintaining the Bidens were worth investigating.
He said: “I have a duty to report corruption, and let me tell you; Biden’s son is corrupt and Biden is corrupt, and I’d rather race Biden than almost any of those candidates, and they’re all weak.”
Source: SKY NEWS