Trump goes on tweeting offensive ahead of public impeachment hearing

President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE on Wednesday went on the offensive as the first public impeachment hearing was set to begin, ripping into top Democrats and decrying members of his own administration set to testify as “Never Trumpers.”

Trump took to Twitter in the hours before the first of several hearings that will shape the remainder of his presidency. He tweeted out all caps mantras that he has deployed for weeks to deflect allegations of wrongdoing and quoted Fox News hosts who railed against Democrats leading the impeachment proceedings.


Trump demanded the public read the transcript of his July 25 call with Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky, which he has described as “perfect,” despite the document being a key piece of evidence in Democrats’ case.

“NEVER TRUMPERS!” Trump tweeted roughly two hours before the first public impeachment hearing was scheduled to begin. 

“READ THE TRANSCRIPT!” he tweeted moments later, sharing the rallying cry that the president’s campaign has had printed on T-shirts.

The president’s allies took to the airwaves on Wednesday morning to plead Trump’s case on his preferred networks.

Former White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' MORE Sanders appeared on Fox Business Network to echo the administration’s talking points excoriating Democrats for pursuing an impeachment inquiry and suggesting the process may benefit Trump in the 2020 election.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh appeared on "Fox & Friends," where he dismissed the proceedings as a “partisan sham.”

Trump tweeted out that quote, questioning himself why Democrats were turning their questioning over to a staff counsel and suggesting without evidence that the lawyer leading questioning may have worked for him. Republicans are also expected to use outside counsel to conduct at least some questioning.

Trump also shared quotes from "Fox & Friends" host Steve Doocy and Fox News contributor Charles Hurt that accused the Democrats of unfairly targeting the president.

The White House has faced criticism for lacking a cohesive approach to defending Trump against the impeachment process as it unfolds. Administration officials have downplayed the need for a formal war room, and it’s unclear if its two new staffing hires will be in place before Wednesday’s proceedings. Trump has often used his Twitter account and campaign rallies to mount his own defense.

The president has an open schedule until noon on Wednesday, and he is likely to tune in to the hearings on television prior to the arrival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a high-stakes meeting.

Two senior U.S. diplomats, William Taylor and George Kent, are slated to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee about the Trump administration’s policy toward Ukraine. Both witnesses have already privately aired concerns about the involvement of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiPoll: 46 percent of voters say Trump's Ukraine dealings constitute impeachable offense GOP member urges Graham to subpoena Schiff, Biden phone records Giuliani meets with fired Ukrainian prosecutor who pushed Biden, 2016 claims: report MORE in matters related to Ukraine. 

Taylor in his closed-door appearance has described an effort driven by Giuliani to try to leverage a White House meeting and aid to Ukraine to press Kyiv for investigations that could benefit Trump politically. 

Trump has previously attacked Taylor, a career foreign service officer who has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations, as a “Never Trumper.” Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS, Sudan to exchange ambassadors for first time in decades Iran expert: Trump's foreign policy approach aimed at instigating 'unrest' Fox's Napolitano says obstruction 'easiest' impeachment offense for Democrats MORE chose Taylor to lead the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv earlier this year. 

Wednesday’s hearing promises to be a spectacle, as House Democrats try to build their case for impeaching Trump and the president’s Republican allies seek to bolster their defense of the president’s actions. 

Republicans have sought to focus on the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky released by the White House as evidence Trump did not put pressure on Ukraine’s leader and that there was no quid pro quo in his dealings with Kyiv. Republicans have also sought to highlight that aid to Ukraine flowed to undercut testimony from witnesses that it was contingent on Ukraine making a public statement about launching investigations — something Kyiv never did. 

The transcript, released by the White House in late September, shows that Trump asked Zelensky to do him “a favor” before suggesting Kyiv investigate a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee server. Trump later raised the Bidens on the call and asked Zelensky to work with Giuliani and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrReport: Barr attorney can't provide evidence Trump was set up by DOJ Budowsky: Chief Justice Roberts can rescue democracy 14 states ask Supreme Court to let Trump resume federal executions MORE

The call triggered an intelligence community whistleblower complaint that formed the basis for Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Trump has also sought to impugn the credibility of the anonymous whistleblower, highlighting unverified reports that the individual worked for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE