President Trump held a conference-wide call with House Republicans on Friday as the White House sought to tout new economic numbers while pushing back on Democrats’ latest moves in their impeachment inquiry.
Trump discussed the Friday unemployment numbers as well as “Democrats’ refusal to focus on solutions that would help the American people as they attempt to overturn the result of the 2016 election,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
“The President, Leader McCarthy, Whip Scalise, Chair Cheney, and Republican leaders on key House committees spoke on the call and emphasized that Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Chairman [Adam] Schiff are deliberately misleading the American people about the truth, and are trampling over procedure and precedent to advance their political goals,” Deere said in the statement issued late Friday.
Trump also touted the economy earlier Friday, after new figures showed the United States added 136,000 jobs in September and unemployment hit a 50-year low.
The president’s call with Republicans came as three House committees held a closed-door interview with the inspector general of the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, regarding a whistleblower complaint raising alarm over Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Trump has faced scrutiny over a July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during which he asked the foreign leader to investigate unsubstantiated allegations of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 Democratic candidate.
The whistleblower complaint, which triggered House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry last week, alleged that Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election and described an effort by the White House to contain details of the call.
“While we cannot get into the substance, we explored with the IG through documents and testimony the reasons why he found the whistleblower complaint to be both urgent and credible,” Schiff, who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement following the closed-door interview.
“Now that we have all seen the call record, we can see that the IG’s determination was correct in both respects.”
House Democrats also issued a subpoena Friday evening to the White House for documents related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, and requested documents from Vice President Pence for their impeachment probe.
Trump has railed against Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as a “witch hunt,” accusing them of trying to bruise him ahead of the 2020 election and insisting he did nothing wrong on the call with Zelensky.
He has defended his decision to raise Biden on the call, saying it had nothing to do with the election. He also called on Ukraine and China to investigate Biden, sparking backlash from several Republicans including Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Ben Sasse (Neb.).
“I’m only interested in corruption,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday. “I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about Biden’s politics. I never thought Biden was going to win, to be honest.”
Trump and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have put forth allegations of corruption regarding Biden and his son, Hunter, but have not offered evidence to back up their claims.