WHITE HOUSE - As the first sitting U.S. president to attend New York City’s Veterans Day parade and lay a wreath at the Eternal Light Memorial, Donald Trump paid tribute to warriors in attendance dating back to World War II.
“We pledge to always honor our veterans,” said Trump on Monday morning at the open of the 100th annual parade. “You are America’s greatest living heroes and we will cherish you now, always and forever.”
Trump also noted one of the recent highlights of his administration, which is being overshadowed by an impeachment inquiry against him in the Democrat-majority House.
Referencing last month’s raid by U.S. special forces against the leader of the Islamic State group, Trump said, “Al-Baghdadi is dead. His second-in-command is dead and we have our eyes on No. 3. His reign of terror is over and our enemies are running very, very scared.”
The terror group, on October 31, confirmed the death of its longtime leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and named his replacement as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.
The president’s remarks brought applause from the crowd in Madison Square Park. But some people nearby did not give Trump a warm welcome back to his native city.
“As Trump began to speak, a din arose from the west side of the park on 5th Avenue. As Trump’s voice boomed from loudspeakers, chants of 'Lock him up' could be heard coming from the crowd,” print pool reporter Eli Stokols of the Los Angeles Times noted in a dispatch to other White House correspondents.
Public televised testimony of impeachment proceedings begins Wednesday.
This follows closed-door depositions at the Capitol during which witnesses were questioned about whether Trump asked Ukraine to investigate the family of former Vice President and political rival, Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination in next year’s presidential election.
Some Democrats say they have already concluded Trump’s actions were a violation of the law and the president should be impeached.
If the House impeaches Trump, the Senate – which is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans – would be compelled to hold a trial to decide whether the president should be removed from office.
Democrat Bill Clinton was the last president to face trial in the Senate after the House voted to impeach him in the late 1990s. He was acquitted on perjury and obstruction of justice as neither count received the necessary two-thirds majority vote of the senators present for conviction and removal from office.
Prior to Clinton, only Andrew Johnson faced such a trial. The Senate, in 1868, voted 35 to 19 to convict and remove the Democrat from office – one vote short of the necessary two-thirds.
Trump, earlier Monday on Twitter, claimed – without citing any specifics – that the transcripts of the closed-door hearing were “doctored,” while repeating a call for the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff, to be investigated for fraud.
Shifty Adam Schiff will only release doctored transcripts. We haven’t even seen the documents and are restricted from (get this) having a lawyer. Republicans should put out their own transcripts! Schiff must testify as to why he MADE UP a statement from me, and read it to all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
The lawyer for the Whistleblower takes away all credibility from this big Impeachment Scam! It should be ended and the Whistleblower, his lawyer and Corrupt politician Schiff should be investigared for fraud!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 11, 2019
The deposition transcripts were made available to the witnesses for review before their release. They do, according to the intelligence committee, have “appropriate redactions for classified and other sensitive information.”
The president has repeatedly called the impeachment procedure a scam and a witch hunt instigated by his political opponents.