NEW YORK: Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, has backed embattled Donald Trump, with the Indian-origin Republican leader saying the President has not done anything that warrants an impeachment, which she said is like a "death penalty" for a public official.
President Trump, a Republican, is accused of trying to pressure Ukraine into investigating unsubstantiated corruption claims against his Democratic Party political rival and former vice president Joe Biden, and his son who worked with an Ukrainian gas company.
On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to open hearings in the impeachment investigation. It will mark the second phase of the impeachment investigation into allegations that Trump abused his powers by seeking help for his 2020 re-election bid from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Haley, in her forthcoming memoir, has claimed that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly attempted to recruit her to undermine President Trump in an effort to "save the country," according to The Washington Post.
The two former Trump Cabinet members sought Haley's help in their bid to subvert the President but she refused, Haley writes. The Washington Post obtained a copy of her book, titled "With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit and Grace," ahead of its release on Tuesday.
In an interview to CBS News, the 47-year-old former governor of South Carolina, she said Trump has not done anything that he should be impeached.
When asked whether Trump should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scandal, Heley replied, "No. On what? You're gonna impeach a president for asking for a favour that didn't happen and giving money and it wasn't withheld? I don't know what you would impeach him on.
She also said that "impeachment is, like, the death penalty for a public official. When you look at the transcript, there's nothing in that transcript that warrants the death penalty for the president."
"To be clear, it was not a complete transcript. There are still things that are missing from it. And in it, he does say, 'I would like you to do us a favour, though.'"
Haley also told the National Public Radio that "it is not a good practice for us ever to ask a foreign country to investigate an American" referring to President Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate former vice president Biden.
But, she added, "I don't see it as impeachable."
Haley, who served from 2017 to 2018 as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, said it is "arrogant" of Congress to attempt to impeach Trump before an election year.
"Did the Ukrainians call for an investigation? No," Haley said. "Did the president hold up aid? He released it as he should," she said. And so, in her view, there was no "smoking gun."
Meanwhile, President Trump has endorsed Haley's upcoming book in a tweet on Sunday and urged his supporters to order a copy or attend her book tour.
".@NikkiHaley is out with a new book, With All Due Respect this week. Make sure you order your copy today, or stop by one of her book tour stops to get a copy and say hello. Good luck Nikki!
Trump's daughter and his advisor Ivanka Trump also tweeted that she was waiting to reading Haley's new book.
Replying to President Trump's message, Haley tweeted, "Thank you Mr. President for your support."
She also thanked Ivanka for her support.
Ahead of the book release, Haley said, "I'm excited for the release of With All Due Respect this week. It is a personal book about my experiences in life and government. I hope you will check it out & come see us on our book tour!"
Haley was the senior most Indian-American official in the Trump administration when she was appointed by the President soon after he assumed office in January 2017. Haley resigned in October 2018, saying that she was moving from the government to the private sector. But she had promised to back Trump in his 2020 re-election bid.
The daughter of Indian immigrants from Punjab, Haley scripted history by becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a Cabinet-level post in any US administration.
Haley was the first female governor of South Carolina, and the second Indian-American politician after Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to serve as a governor in the US.