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‘It’s a Witch Hunt, It’s a Hoax’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized the Democrat-led impeachment inquiry as a “hoax” and said he was “too busy” to watch the first public impeachment hearing.

Trump’s comments came the same day that two U.S. officials were set to kick things off with testimony before the House Intelligence Committee: William Taylor, a U.S. diplomat for the Ukrainian embassy, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

During an Oval Office meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the hearing had begun, Trump was asked if he had been watching the proceedings.

“No, I didn’t,” he replied. “I did not watch it.”

“I’m too busy to watch it,” the president added. “It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax. I’m too busy to watch it, so I’m sure I’ll get a report.”

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Trump did point out he had taken note of the lawyers asking questions during the hearing.

“I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers, they took some guys off television,” he said.

“You know, I’m not surprised to see it, because Schiff can’t do his own questions,” he added, referring to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who has been spearheading the impeachment push.

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Earlier, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump was “working” rather than “watching” the proceedings.

“He’s in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working,” she said, according to a White House media pool report.

The president did take time Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to issue a fiery defense in the hours leading up to the hearing.

“The Democrats have stacked the deck against President Trump and the Republicans. They have leaked out everything,” Trump tweeted, tagging “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy.

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“READ THE TRANSCRIPT!” he added later.

The transcript in question refers to a summary of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Democrats have accused Trump of suggesting a quid pro quo, claiming he planned to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that nation’s government investigated former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

While he was vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who had investigated Burisma Holdings, an energy company where Hunter served on the board.

But the U.S. military aid to Ukraine was released in September without Ukraine launching an investigation into the Bidens.

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