Former Independent Counsel Robert Ray, who investigating the “Whitewater” scandal involving President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in the 1990s, said Monday that President Donald Trump was exactly right to ignore an invitation by the House Judiciary Committee to appear for impeachment hearings.
“I think the American people are going to see this for what it is,” Ray told Fox News’ “Mornings with Maria,” leading to a pair of tweets from Trump quoting the comments he and show host Maria Bartiromo had made.
“I think they do understand at bottom that this is a political effort,” Ray noted further.
House Democrats, he added, “have made a calculation that this is their best way forward in order to maximize (their) chances in the 2020 election. They may be right or they may be wrong about that.
“The president certainly doesn’t have to aid in the impeachment effort. He’s made a judgment now and I think that’s probably the right judgment,” said Ray.
On Sunday, the White House said in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that Trump’s team “cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings.”
Ray told Bartiromo that he does not believe Democrat claims that the president abused his power in his dealings with Ukraine or even his noncompliance with House subpoenas amount to “well-founded” articles of impeachment.
He said that there are still claims of executive privilege that have yet to be decided in federal courts. Nonetheless, Ray said he expects House Democrats to draw up articles of impeachment that will include obstruction of justice and bribery.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insisted again in a new interview that there was no quid pro quo with the Trump administration.
“Look, I never talked to [President Donald Trump] from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war,” Zelensky said in an interview with Time magazine and European publications.
“If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying,” he added.