Trump Complains About Impeachment After Christmas Eve Message to Troops

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump spent Christmas Eve morning complaining that Democrats had treated him unfairly during the impeachment inquiry and insisting that Republican leaders in the Senate should run a trial however they see fit.

“It’s up to Mitch McConnell, and we have the majority and now they want McConnell to do wonderful things for them,” Mr. Trump said of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, during remarks to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate. “I mean he’s going to do what he wants to do.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are locked in a dispute over the procedures that will govern a Senate impeachment trial, with Democrats insisting that it must include testimony from witnesses, a decision that Mr. McConnell and other Republicans say is premature.

Mr. Trump has said in the past that he is eager for Republicans to mount a robust defense of his actions during a trial that would include witnesses. But his Republican allies in the Senate have expressed misgivings about creating a circuslike trial. In his remarks on Tuesday, Mr. Trump appeared willing to accept whatever Mr. McConnell decided.

“He’s very smart guy, a very good guy, a very fair guy,” Mr. Trump said. He criticized Democrats for trying to influence the Senate process, saying that “they treated us very unfairly, and now they want fairness in the Senate.”

Mr. Trump lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that she “hates all of the people who voted for me and the Republican Party.” And he attacked Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who ran the impeachment investigation, as “a sick, corrupt politician.”

A spokesman for Ms. Pelosi called the president’s comments “projection.” The speaker said Monday on Twitter that the House could not take the final steps to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until senators decided how the trial would be conducted, including a decision about whether witnesses would be called.

“President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process,” Ms. Pelosi tweeted. “What is his excuse now?”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on Monday: “We say to President Trump, if you are so confident that you did nothing wrong, then why won’t you let your men testify? If you did nothing wrong, Mr. President, why do you seem so eager to avoid the truth, to hide the truth?”

Mr. Schumer also demanded more internal administration documents ahead of an impeachment trial, calling newly released emails showing that military aid to Ukraine was suspended 90 minutes after Mr. Trump demanded “a favor” from Ukraine’s president “explosive.”

The president’s comments to reporters on Tuesday morning came after praising troops during a video call to five military units deployed at bases around the world. He wished them a Merry Christmas and said that he hoped that “every member of our military will feel the overwhelming gratitude of our nation.”

One soldier asked the president about the cameo appearance he made in the movie “Home Alone 2.” Mr. Trump called it “a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest.”

“It’s an honor to be involved in something like that,” he added.

Another soldier asked him what present he had gotten his wife, Melania Trump, for Christmas — a question that seemed to stump the president for a moment.

“That’s a tough question. I got her a beautiful card,” Mr. Trump said. “A lot of love. We love our family, and we love each other. We’ve had a great relationship, hopefully like you do with your spouses. I’m still working on a Christmas present. There’s a little time left. Not much, but a little time left.”

But the president clearly had other things on his mind on the day before Christmas.

He spent the morning retweeting Fox News commentary about the impeachment. He quoted one as saying that Democrats were “in real doubt about the evidence” for impeachment. And he quoted another as saying that Ms. Pelosi supported the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada only because she needed to do something productive while pursuing impeachment against Mr. Trump.

“The Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats have gone CRAZY,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “They want to make it as hard as possible for me to properly run our Country!”

On other issues, the president said he was not worried about a threatened “Christmas gift” from North Korea. American officials have been on high alert for the possibility that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, might resume testing of ballistic missiles. But Mr. Trump said he was not concerned by the threat.

“That’s O.K. We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it,” he said, adding: “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.”

The president was asked whether he planned to pardon Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser who was convicted in federal court of seven felonies for obstructing the congressional inquiry, lying to investigators under oath and trying to block the testimony of a witness whose account would have exposed his lies.

Mr. Trump said he had not thought about a pardon for Mr. Stone, but expressed sympathy for him and for Michael T. Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who served as Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser and pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about the issue of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“He got hit very hard,” Mr. Trump said about Mr. Stone, “as did General Flynn and a lot of other people. And now they are finding out it was all a hoax.”

The president also said he planned to hold a ceremony with President Xi Jinping of China to sign the first phase of a trade deal that was announced this month, though he offered no details about where or when such a signing ceremony might be held.

“We will be having a signing ceremony, yes,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “We will ultimately, yes, when we get together. And we’ll be having a quicker signing because we want to get it done. The deal is done, it’s just being translated right now.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington.

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