- Title: Et tu, Mitt? Trump blasts Republican senator as impeachment battle heats up
- Date: 5th October 2019
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 24, 2019) (REUTERS) U.S. CAPITOL FLAG ON U.S. CAPITOL BUILDING U.S. CAPITOL DOME
- Embargoed: 19th October 2019 18:49
- Keywords: Trump Romney impeachment republican
- Location: VARIOUS
- City: VARIOUS
- Country: USA
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA003AZTLWEF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday (October 5) opened a new front in the impeachment battle that threatens his administration, blasting a prominent member of his party for criticizing his push to get foreign nations to probe a leading Democratic rival.
The Republican president, who launched a stream of invective at Democrats and the media as an impeachment probe in Congress widened this week, tweeted that U.S. Senator Mitt Romney was a "pompous 'ass' who has been fighting me from the beginning."
Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama, criticized Trump on Friday (October 4) for asking China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The Utah Republican said Trump's appeal to China was "wrong and appalling."
"If Mitt worked this hard on Obama, he could have won. Sadly, he choked!" Trump wrote.
Trump also defended again as "appropriate" the July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that triggered the impeachment inquiry in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and said his call for China to investigate Biden and his son Hunter was linked to corruption, not politics.
House Democrats are examining whether there are grounds to impeach Trump based on a whistleblower's complaint that said he asked Zelenskiy to help probe the Bidens. Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company for several years.
The probe could lead to approval of articles of impeachment - or formal charges - against Trump in the House. A trial on whether to remove Trump from office would then be held in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A two-thirds majority of the senators present would be needed to oust Trump, which means 20 Republicans would have to jump ship if all the Democrats and the two independents who caucus with Democrats form a united front.
Although there are no visible cracks in Trump's Senate firewall so far, Romney's willingness to step out of formation and criticize Trump over his calls for foreign investigations of a political opponent could act as a catalyst for others.
Romney savaged Trump during the 2016 campaign, calling him a "con man" who was unfit for the presidency, but the two men later set aside their differences. Trump endorsed Romney's political comeback last year.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)
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