Trump says he's not worried about impeachment, stands by Saudi crown prince
WASHINGTON (CBSNews) — In an interview with Reuters Tuesday, President Trump said he isn't worried about being impeached by Democrats once they take control of the House in January, while doubling down on his support for the Saudi crown prince and saying he could intervene in the prosecution of a high-ranking Chinese tech executive.
"It's hard to impeach somebody who hasn't done anything wrong and who's created the greatest economy in the history of our country," Mr. Trump told Reuters. "I'm not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened."
Last week, Manhattan prosecutors recommended a "substantial" prison sentencefor Mr. Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen. The government said Cohen violated campaign finance law "in coordination with and at the direction" of the president by paying two women to remain silent during the 2016 campaign about their alleged affairs with the president. Cohen has pleaded guilty to several charges and is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.
Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing on multiple occasions and defended the action again in the interview Tuesday.
"Number one, it wasn't a campaign contribution. If it were, it's only civil, and even if it's only civil, there was no violation based on what we did. OK?" Mr. Trump told Reuters.
Citing Cohen's sentencing memo, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who is poised to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in January, told "Face the Nation" Sunday the president faces the "real prospect of jail time" after leaving the White House.
During the interview with Reuters, Mr. Trump brushed off bipartisan criticism he's been too lenient on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Following a briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel last week, senators said they were confidentthe crown prince ordered the gruesome murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"He's the leader of Saudi Arabia. They've been a very good ally," the president said.
Asked if backing the crown prince is necessary to preserve the strong military and economic alliance with Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump replied, "Well, at this moment, it certainly does."
The president also suggested he was willing to "intervene" in the high-profile case against a top Chinese telecommunications executive if it facilitates a trade agreement with China. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the tech giant Huawei, was arrested by Canadian authorities at the request of the U.S. and is facing charges of violating sanctions against Iran.
"If I think it's good for the country, if I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what's good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Mr. Trump said.
Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, told "Face the Nation" Sundaythat Meng's arrest had no bearing on U.S. efforts to strike a trade deal with China ahead of a March 1 deadline.