LACONIA, N.H. – Using some of her strongest language yet against President Trump, presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-N.H., said most Americans are “tired of the ugliness… tired of the name-calling… tired of the disgusting behavior” coming from the Republican president.
And, speaking with reporters after a town hall in New Hampshire, the state holding the first primary in the race for the White House, the Democrat from neighboring Massachusetts spotlighted Tuesday’s impeachment inquiry testimony by Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, arguing it’s further proof that the president violated the law in asking a foreign country to investigate one of Trump’s top 2020 rivals.
Vindman, the National Security Council’s (NSC) Director of European Affairs, said he listened to a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He became the first current White House official to testify in the probe led by House Democrats. According to his prepared remarks, he was concerned by what he heard on the phone call and alerted the NSC’s chief counsel.
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The president has come under fire over the conversation, in which he asked Zelensky to look into the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. Recent polls have shown Biden and Warren at the front of the pack among the Democrats aiming to challenge Trump in next year’s election. Fueled by whistleblower complaints, a transcript of the call released by the White House and witness testimony, Democrats have argued the president was asking a foreign country to try interfering in a U.S. election.
Adding to the controversy was the fact that before that phone call, millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine was put on hold. Despite allegations that Trump was using that money as leverage, Trump repeatedly has insisted that he did nothing wrong. He said there was no “quid pro quo” and has on numerous occasions described his conversation with the Ukrainian leader as “perfect.”
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Ahead of Tuesday’s appearance by Vindman, Trump questioned the officer’s credibility as a witness and labeled him – without offering proof – as a “never Trumper.”
Asked about the president’s criticism of the national security official, Warren told reporters, “this is one more example of Donald Trump trying to distract from the substance of what’s going on.”
She emphasized, “We’ve now heard from one more person who was on the call who understands clearly that Donald Trump pressured the head of the government of Ukraine in order to protect Donald Trump’s own political future. That is a violation of the law and it is also morally wrong. Trump hopes we’ll talk about something other than that. He’s wrong.”
If the House were to impeach the president, the action would move then to the Senate, which would hold a trial. That could occur as soon as early next year, in the weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary.
Asked how she could balance her role on an impeachment trial and campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren told reporters, “Some things are more important than politics. I took a pledge to uphold the Constitution of the United States and that’s what this impeachment is all about. Donald Trump thinks he’s above the law. The Constitution says otherwise.”
Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren taking a question from the audience at a town hall in Laconia, N.H., on Tuesday.
Trump and Warren have long sparred, dating back to her time during the 2016 election as a top surrogate for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The president repeatedly has mocked Warren as “Pocahontas,” over her controversial claims of Native American heritage.
Asked by an audience member during the town hall how she would push back against Trump if she won the nomination, the senator pledged, “You don’t back down from a bully.”
She also previewed, “I think the way we do this is, we show aggressively what we can do, the kind of country we can be. We give Americans a real choice.”
Warren also emphasized, “the Donald Trump show… it’s just getting old and it’s getting boring.”
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Warren held her town hall in a gym in Laconia’s middle school, which was also the site of a Trump general-election rally in September 2016.
The senator arrived in Laconia hours after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview he’s open to loosening financial crisis-era liquidity requirements for big banks to relieve potential cash crunches in short-term funding markets.
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Warren, who sits on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee and who has long crusaded against Wall Street and the big banks, took aim at the treasury secretary.
“What Steven Mnuchin proposes is dangerous and it’s in the exact direction that every single step taken by the Trump administration has gone, and that is making it a little easier for the banks to make a little more money with a little less oversight,” she argued. “In 2008, that kind of thinking brought our entire country to the brink of financial collapse. What these guys are doing is short-term profits for the banks and long-term pain for the American people.”
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The Republican National Committee, ahead of Warren’s visit just two days before Halloween, said: “Her plans are terrifying.”
RNC Spokeswoman Nina McLaughlin added, “Granite Staters have seen the positive changes made under President Trump’s administration and will choose to keep America strong and prosperous, rather than take a gamble on Warren’s progressive pipe dreams.”
Fox News’ Tara Prindiville contributed to this report