O’Rourke calls on Trump to resign over Ukraine controversy, says it would ‘bring the country together’

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke called on President Trump to resign Saturday over the controversy surrounding Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president -- saying it would be the best chance to bring the nation together.

“This country is as divided as it's ever been, is being driven further apart every day by this president,” the former Texas congressman said at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. “The single best thing to bring the country together would be Donald Trump's resignation -- much in the same way that President [Richard] Nixon as his high crimes became public...he made a decison -- ultimately in his best interests for his legacy and the consequences he faced -- but also for this country, to ensure we could heal and unify again ”

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Democrats in the House and on the 2020 campaign trail largely have backed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s formal launch of an impeachment inquiry this week after details of President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were made public.

The transcript of that call, which was released after the surfacing of a whistleblower complaint, shows Trump seeking assistance in investigating Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Specifically, Trump asked Zelensky about Biden’s role in securing the firing of a prosecutor who was investigating an energy firm to which Hunter had ties.

But an impeachment push faces a tough climb, particularly in the Republican-dominated Senate, where a two-thirds majority vote is needed to convict the president.

O’Rourke, however, said that he believed that Senate would convict Trump, and said it would be better if the president stepped down instead. He repeatedly mentioned Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 before being impeached due to the Watergate scandal.

“Those closest to Donald Trump, many of whom are alarmed by his behavior and his lawlessness and the crimes that he's committed, need to sit down...and help him to make that same decision," O'Rourke said. "Republican senators today in 2019, much as they did with Richard Nixon need to sit down with the president and make clear to him that there is no way out of this without a trial in the Senate, a trial which I believe will convict the president of these crimes."

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O’Rouke’s calls are unlikely to be heeded by the White House. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Sky News Friday that he would like to testify to Congress and has said that everything he did was “perfectly legal.”

Trump, meanwhile, has defended himself vigorously and has gone on the attack against his Democratic opponents. On Saturday, he accused prominent members of the opposition party of acting like “savages.”