Washington: Amid the ongoing impeachment hearings against him by a Democrats-dominated Congressional panel, US President Donald Trump has asserted that he has the right to speak and the freedom of speech.
The president made the assertion while accusing the opposition Democratic party of denying the Republicans the due process in the House-initiated impeachment proceedings against him. "In the history of our country, there has never been a disgrace like what's going on right now. So, you know what, I have the right to speak. I have the freedom of speech just as other people do have. But they (Democrats) have taken away the Republicans rights (to ask questions)," Trump told reporters in a media interaction at the White House.
The US president said he watched the second-day public hearing on impeachment against him by the Congressional Committee. "I watched today as certain very talented (Republican) people wanted to ask questions. They weren't even allowed to ask questions. Republicans weren't allowed to ask questions, it's a very sad thing," said the US President.
Trump was referring to the ongoing deposition by former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which on Thursday held its second public impeachment hearing against him. "I just want to have a total... I want freedom of speech. That's a political process. The Republicans have been treated very badly. I watched a little bit of it today. I wasn't able to yesterday because we had the President of Turkey here and I wasn't able to watch much. I watched some of it this morning," he said.
"I thought it was a disgrace. When, we have great Republican representatives elected by the people. They are not allowed to even ask a question. They're not allowed to make a statement. We're not allowed to have witnesses. We're not allowed to have legal counsel White House Counsel. It's a disgrace, an embarrassment to our nation," Trump said. Trump reiterated that he had a perfect call with his Ukrainian counterpart, which has become the basis of the initiation of impeachment proceedings against him. He also slammed the mainstream press for allegedly siding with Democrats in the impeachment is proceeding.
"The press is unbelievable. That was a major statement put out last night by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, and also by the President of Ukraine. And you don't even report it. It's a disgrace, because it said there was absolutely no linkage. We had a perfect conversation," Trump told the pool of White House reporters. "If we had an honest press in this country, we would be so well served," he said.
"You know what, when I look at your approval numbers in the worst they've ever been in the history of our country, the media, the approval numbers. They are horrible," he said. "You want to get yourself back and you want to put yourself back in a position where people respect the media, again. I know some great journalists I know some great people in the media. But there aren't enough of this... a lot of dishonesty, and many of you, I just consider, members of the democrats and it's a shame," said the US president.
(By Lalit K Jha/PTI)