Impeachment hearings live updates: Trump calls Democrats ‘unpatriotic’ for pursuing case against him while he’s overseas

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LONDON — Trump on Tuesday called Democrats “very unpatriotic” for pursuing his impeachment while he is overseas meeting with other NATO leaders and dismissed the possibility of a congressional censure as an alternative to removal from office.

His latest comments on the impeachment inquiry came during a one-on-one meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, when Trump fielded questions from reporters for nearly an hour.

Asked if impeachment proceedings cast a cloud over his negotiations at the NATO summit, Trump lashed out at Democrats.

“I think it’s very unpatriotic for the Democrats to put on a performance where they do that,” he said. “I do. I think it’s a bad thing for our country. Impeachment wasn’t supposed to be used that way. … Does it cast a cloud? Well, if it does, then the Democrats have done a very great disservice to the country, which they have. They’ve wasted a lot of time.”

Trump also dismissed an idea that has been floated in Congress of censuring him for his conduct toward Ukraine rather than impeaching him.

“I heard about it,” Trump said. “Now they want to go to censure because they have no case for impeachment. So they want to go to censure. I don’t want them to go to censure. … I don’t mind being censured if you do something wrong. I did nothing wrong.”

He continued to insist that his July conversation with Zelensky, in which he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens, was “a great conversation.”

“It was flawless,” Trump said.

Trump claimed, without citing evidence, that many Democratic lawmakers have become “very upset” about the politics of impeachment perhaps playing against them.

He also predicted that a hotly anticipated Justice Department inspector general’s report about the investigation into Russian election interference would be “devastating.”

The report by inspector general Michael Horowitz, due to be released next week, has become a subject of discord inside the Justice Department, with Barr telling associates he disagrees with its finding that the FBI had sufficient basis in July 2016 to open its investigation into members of the Trump campaign.

Asked whether he agrees with Barr, Trump told reporters here Tuesday morning, “I just don’t know. I haven’t seen. I have purposefully stayed out of it.”

But Trump showered praise on Barr and his integrity. The president added that he has heard from “outside” sources that the report is “very powerful” and contains “a lot of devastating things.”