Politics

Trump claims he's 'too busy' to watch impeachment hearing — but he keeps tweeting about it

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump claims he is "too busy" to watch the first day of televised impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives.
  • Trump actively promotes Twitter posts by allies criticizing the hearing, which is focused on his pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Trump denies he had watched the hearing as he welcomes Turkey's leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House.
VIDEO1:1001:10
Trump: Didn't watch one minute of impeachment hearing

President Donald Trump claimed Wednesday that he's just "too busy" to watch the first day of televised impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives — but he kept tweeting about it.

"I'm too busy to watch it," Trump told reporters when asked about the hearing in the Oval Office, where he welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"It's a witch hunt, it's a hoax," Trump said.

Trump said "I'm sure I'll get a report" about the hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, where acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and senior State Department official George Kent were testifying.

"I have not been briefed," he said. "There's nothing there."

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Here are some big moments from the first open Trump impeachment hearing

Trump's allies in the meantime claimed the hearing was a big yawn. Those supporters complained the testimony was "boring."

In the hours before saying he wasn't watching, Trump tweeted about the impeachment effort and retweeted — repeatedly — what his allies were saying about the hearing, being chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The impeachment probe is focused on Trump's pressuring of Ukraine last summer to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and a conspiracy theory related to the 2016 presidential election, even as Trump withheld nearly $400 million in congressionally appropriated military aid to Ukraine. Biden is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Trump began his tweetstorm early, with short messages for his followers.

After the proceedings began he switched to retweeting his allies who found fault with the hearing.

As he retweeted those posts, Trump's press secretary Stephanie Grisham said he was not watching the proceedings.

"He is in the Oval Office in meetings," Grisham said. "He is working."

When Grisham was asked why there was not a Marine guarding the doors of the West Wing of the White House, as is normally the case when the president is in the Oval Office, Grisham said, "Marine sentries are rehearsing for Turkey arrival."

Grisham was one of a number of Trump backers who griped that the hearing was "boring."

Trump's son Eric echoed that sentiment.

So did a Republican congressman who was sitting in the hearing room during testimony.

Trump's online media allies were likewise in the "boring" chorus.

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Bill Taylor reveals previously unreported phone call between Trump and Sondland