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Trump says wants impeachment trial in Senate

US President Donald Trump says he wants to be tried by the Senate if the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes to impeach him.

In a phone interview with Fox News on Friday, Trump said he would like to see the inquiry against him go to a Senate trial and that a “nut job” Democrat like US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff testify following the conclusion of public impeachment hearings against him.

Democrats have accused Trump of soliciting assistance from Ukraine in a July 25 phone call and via a circle of accomplices to investigate a presidential candidate in the 2020 US election race.

Trump is alleged to have stalled almost $400 million in military aid and a White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pressure Kiev into helping. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

“I want a trial,” the US president said. “I want to see Adam Schiff testify about the whistle-blower – who’s a fake whistle-blower.”

Trump was referring to the intelligence community whistle-blower whose report on the phone call between him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky kick-started the impeachment drives against him.

The whistle-blower’s complaint “bore no relationship to his call,” Trump said. “The whistle-blower in my opinion is a political operative,” he added, without providing specific evidence to back up his claims.

The American head of state also cast doubt on whether the Democratic-led House would vote to impeach him, insisting his phone call with Zelensky was “totally appropriate” and that House Democrats would be “crazy” to put impeachment to a vote.

“There should never be an impeachment, that phone call was totally appropriate. If they do put it up, they’re crazy,” Trump said. “Adam Schiff is a nut job.”

Trump’s remarks were the first since House public hearings over the past two weeks.

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September after the unknown whistle-blower alleged the Republican president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The impeachment probe shifted to a public phase on November 13 after weeks of closed-door interviews in the House.

An overwhelming 70 percent of US adults think Trump’s action towards Ukraine was wrong, and a slim majority of Americans, 51 percent, believe Trump’s actions were both wrong and he should be removed from office, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.