WASHINGTON — President Trump set off to London on Monday, admonishing “radical” Democrats for continuing their impeachment inquiry while he attends a NATO summit — “one of the most important journeys that we make as president.”
“It’s a hoax, an absolute disgrace,” Mr. Trump said of the House inquiry. Though he also predicted that the matter would end up being “a tremendous boon for the Republicans.”
“Republicans have never, ever been so committed as they are right now — and so united,” Mr. Trump said. “So it’s really a great thing in some ways, but in other ways it’s a disgrace.”
The White House has said it would not participate on Wednesday when the House Judiciary Committee questions legal experts about whether there are grounds to impeach Mr. Trump over a pressure campaign on Ukraine in an effort to influence the 2020 election.
In London, Mr. Trump and other world leaders will commemorate NATO’s 70th anniversary. Other countries in the alliance have increased their financial contributions — something Mr. Trump has long pushed for. He campaigned on the notion that the United States should not have to bear the bulk of the costs.
The president has individual meetings scheduled with leaders, including the president of France and the chancellor of Germany. But he does not have a one-on-one meeting on the books with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who is facing his own election later this month and is trying to keep Mr. Trump at a distance.
Mr. Trump was traveling with the first lady, Melania Trump, and his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who played a key role in the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine in exchange for a pledge to announce investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals.
Mr. Trump on Monday cited a recent article in which President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine repeated his assertion that a July 25 conversation at the heart of the impeachment inquiry did not involve a this-for-that negotiation.
As he left the White House, Mr. Trump said Mr. Zelensky’s recent comments should be the end of the investigation.
“That should be case over,” Mr. Trump said.