By Steve Holland
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday angrily denounced talk among some U.S. lawmakers of censuring him as an alternative to impeachment, saying he finds the concept unacceptable.
Trump, in London for a NATO summit, held a lengthy question-and-answer session with reporters as he met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Trump repeatedly denounced the impeachment inquiry against him as a hoax driven by Democrats seeking to gain political advantage as he faces re-election next November.
Being censured by the U.S. Congress would amount to a severe condemnation without driving Trump out of office over his attempts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives currently aims to pass articles of impeachment against Trump.
His case would then go to a trial in the U.S. Senate – but because the Senate is controlled by Trump’s Republican Party, analysts doubt he would be convicted and removed from power.
Some lawmakers have proposed censure in recent days as a way to denounce Trump without forcing him from office.
Trump said he found the idea “unacceptable.”
“I did nothing wrong,” he said. “You don’t censure somebody when they did nothing wrong.”
Trump also said he would be disappointed if a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general concludes that the FBI had enough information in July 2016 to justify launching an investigation into members of the Trump presidential campaign.
Trump wanted the investigation to take place in order to prove his assertion that his Democratic opponents were at the root of an FBI inquiry into whether his campaign had links to Russians.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that a Trump appointee, Attorney General William Barr, disagreed with the findings of the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, which are to be released in a week.
Trump said he had heard the report’s conclusions include a “lot of devastating things” for his opponents but added that, if it does not, “that will be a little disappointing.”
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Kevin Liffey)