President Trump couldn’t resist riffing on the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday as he continued the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey, generating holiday-season laughter at the expense of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, the AP reports. Trump joked that the pair of North Carolina-bred turkeys he was about to pardon had been raised to “remain calm under any condition,” a trait that he said will be “very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday.” Trump’s Republican defenders in Congress had criticized Schiff for holding closed-depositions in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center, which Democrats said was necessary for the investigation.
"It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey,” Trump told guests seated in the White House Rose Garden, where he was flanked by his wife, first lady Melania Trump. But he told the turkeys that, “unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met. It’s very unusual.” Trump has claimed to barely know some of the witnesses who testified during public impeachment hearings chaired by Schiff, a California Democrat, including Gordon Sondland, Trump’s ambassador to the European Union. Testimony from several officials showed that Sondland had been in frequent contact with Trump around the time Trump spoke with the president of Ukraine about doing a politically beneficial “favor.” (Later Tuesday Trump assured a rally crowd he would not be changing the name of Thanksgiving.)