White House to battle impeachment by stalling, attacking

WASHINGTON (AP) – As House Democrats fire off more subpoenas, the White House is finalising a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to United States (US) President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat.

Trump aides are honing their approach after two weeks of what allies have described as a listless and unfocussed response to the impeachment probe.

One expected step is a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejecting the inquiry because Democrats haven’t held a vote on the matter and moving to all but cease cooperation with Capitol Hill on key oversight matters. The strategy risks further provoking Democrats in the impeachment probe, setting up court challenges and the potential for lawmakers to draw up an article of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing their investigations.

But as lawmakers seek to amass ammunition to be used in an impeachment trial, the White House increasingly believes all-out warfare is its best course of action.

“What they did to this country is unthinkable. It’s lucky that I’m the president. A lot of people said very few people could handle it. I sort of thrive on it,” Trump said on Monday at the White House.

“You can’t impeach a president for doing a great job. This is a scam.”

House Democrats, for their part, issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday, this time to Defence Secretary Mark Esper and acting White House budget director Russell Vought. Pelosi’s office also released an open letter signed by 90 former national security officials who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations, voicing support for the whistleblower who raised concerns about Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political foe Joe Biden.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media at the White House in Washington. PHOTO: AP