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Donald Trump facing impeachment bid, heading overseas

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he departs the U.S. Coast Guard Academy following commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of 2017
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up as he departs the U.S. Coast Guard Academy following commencement ceremonies for the graduating class of 2017

DEMOCRATIC Congressman Al Green has called for President Trump to be impeached over his treatment of former FBI director James Comey, accusing him of obstruction of justice.

Speaking on the House floor Wednesday morning, he said the decision is a "position of conscience" for him, but it did not mean the President would be found guilty.

"President Trump is not above the law. He has committed an impeachable act and must be charged. To do otherwise would cause some Americans to lose respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms," he said in a statement.

The prospect was also broached by Republican Justin Amash who said if true, reports Mr Trump had pressured Mr Comey to drop the investigation would constitute grounds for impeachment.

"But everybody gets a fair trial in this country," he told The Hill.

Both Republicans and Democrats have called for greater clarity around what exactly happened between Comey and Trump in private meetings in recent months.

It follows a report Comey wrote a memo after a conversation with Trump saying he was told: "I hope you can let this go" in relation to an investigation over links with Russia.

Separately, Russian President Putin also offered to release a transcript of the conversation between Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and Trump after Trump allegedly shared classified information.

He also joked that he "reprimanded" Lavrov for not sharing any secretive information with him and said the US is in danger of "political schizophrenia".

"If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress," Putin said in Italy on Wednesday.

The White House has denied President Trump shared classified information and Trump tweeted he had the "absolute right" to discuss terrorism-related issues with Russia.


OUT OF THE FRYING PAN, INTO THE FIRE

The growing crisis comes as President Trump prepares to fly overseas Friday for his first international trip in what is being billed as a chance to redeem his floundering administration.

The President will travel to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium to meet foreign leaders in a trip designed to showcase religious unity and highlight the administration's intention to bring peace to the Middle East and fight terrorism in Syria.

Trump will meet with King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before going to Rome, a NATO meeting in Brussels and a G7 meeting in Sicily on the tour that will take in some of the world's most prominent religious sites.

But while the President might welcome the opportunity to stand on the world stage, critics are nervous about the "homebody" who is known for his unscripted press conferences, off-the-cuff tweets and unorthodox approach to briefings, visiting some of the most diplomatically and culturally sensitive sites in the world.

"His advisers concede that the intense schedule - dozens of interactions with leaders from the Middle East and Europe, over a range of delicate issues - could produce unscripted, diplomatically perilous moments," The New York Times reports.

The Washington Post went further in an opinion piece to say "the trip must be cancelled, the risks are too great".

"Even for a capable president, Trump's itinerary would represent an ambitious agenda," Sarah Posner wrote.

"In Trump's hands, though, it's fraught with the perils of tweets, statements, misstatements, boasts or other inappropriate Trump outbursts that could trigger or intensify geopolitical and religious tensions.

"Beyond politics, the idea that Trump is capable of promoting even an iota of religious tolerance is almost too absurd to even address.

"In short, the trip is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Already it has proved controversial with questions raised about the administration's approach to whether the US Embassy should be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

On Tuesday, Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to make final preparations for the visit in the wake of reports Trump had shared classified Israeli intelligence with the Russian ambassador.

The issue was not discussed, Israeli officials said, adding that the intelligence relationship with the US remained strong.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  donald trump editors picks


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