Trump says GOP 'absolutely killing it' in Vindman impeachment hearing

The president, who said Tuesday he was watching some of the Hill proceedings, also called Speaker Nancy Pelosi "grossly incompetent."

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By Lauren Egan

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was pleased with how Republicans were handling the impeachment inquiry and accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., of being “grossly incompetent” and ignoring legislative obligations to focus on impeachment.

“I just got to watch,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, speaking of the Tuesday morning testimony from National Security Council staffer Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence. “And the Republicans are absolutely killing it. They are doing so well.”

Trump lamented that Congress still had not approved USMCA, a revamped version of the nearly 25-year-old North America Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, saying Pelosi was playing politics with the pact.

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“Pelosi can't get it off her desk, just can't do it,” Trump said of USMCA. “I think the woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment, which is just a little pipe dream she’s got. And she can keep playing that game.”

Trump said that he had “been told” that Pelosi “is using USMCA because she doesn't have the impeachment votes, so she is using USMCA to get the impeachment vote. ... The woman is highly overrated, highly incompetent.”

When asked if he found Vindman — whose testimony was still ongoing as the president met with his Cabinet — to be a credible witness, Trump said that he had watched the hearing for just a “little while” prior to the meeting, but “had never heard of him.”

“I don't know him,” Trump said. “I never saw the man. ... What I do know is that even he said the transcripts were correct.”

Trump also sought again to distance himself from previous witnesses who have already appeared before the House. “I don’t know any of these people other than I have seen one or two a couple of times, they’re ambassadors,” he said.

Trump did not answer reporters’ questions about whether he would appear before the House to testify in the impeachment probe, as he suggested Monday he might.

The White House again dismissed the day's testimony. “We have learned nothing new in today’s illegitimate ‘impeachment’ proceedings," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Tuesday.

Trump spent the morning in the White House residence calling into local radio stations to discuss trade deals, as the White House continues its effort to portray him as busy at work and above the political fray while Democrats pursue impeachment.