Donald Trump spent some time on Sunday screaming at reporters next to a noisy aircraft, which is the president’s preferred setting for ad hoc interactions with the press.
As usual, he weighed in on anything and everything, including what has now become the biggest story in US politics – the controversy around a July call during which Trump allegedly pressured Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
That call in part informed a whistle-blower complaint which was deemed an “urgent concern” by the intelligence community’s inspector general, and now, House Democrats are in an uproar over acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s refusal to turn it over to Congress.
“Just so you understand, the conversation I had with the president of Ukraine was absolutely perfect”, Trump said on Sunday, in another “The Donald doth protest too much, methinks” moment.
He then threatened the whistle-blower(s). “People better find out who these people are who are trying to subvert our country”, the president said, without even a hint of irony. (This entire story is literally about Trump trying to “subvert our country” – that’s the whole thrust of the whistle-blower complaint.)
Trump wasn’t done. “The conversation I had with the president of Ukraine was absolutely a 10, it was perfect”, he said, again.
With that “settled”, he moved on to address witch hunts.
“Now, what you have to do is take a look at the corruption on the Democrats’ side – take a look at how the whole witch hunt started”, he implored. “Now they want to start another witch hunt, but unfortunately this one is reverting to Joe Biden”.
That contention is totally contrary to what Trump said on Saturday when he claimed, in a tweet, that “the Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor”.
As we suggested, if the “fake news media” really wanted to stay “as far away” from the Ukraine-Biden connection as possible, then the very last thing they (the media) would do is dedicate hours upon hours of prime time coverage to Trump’s phone call about Biden with the president of Ukraine.
Trump on Sunday struggled to reconcile that discrepancy with his own narrative.
“I’m not even really looking to hurt him, to be honest”, Trump said of Biden, who he’s maligned and slandered on too many occasions to count over the past month. “I’m not looking to hurt him, I’m not looking to hurt his family”.
As ever, that is a pretty brazen thing to say considering the contents of the whistle-blower complaint will almost surely be leaked to the press, probably soon.
The president also said he’d have “no problem” letting Rudy Giuliani talk to Congress about Ukraine. If you’ve seen Rudy on television over the past two years, you know that the prospect of Giuliani testifying before angry Democrats should terrify the White House.
But the real highlight came when Trump said this:
Got that? Here it is again:
And now (Biden) made a lie when he said he never spoke to his son. I mean give me a break, he’s already said he spoke to his son and now he said yesterday very firmly. Who wouldn’t speak to your son? Of course you spoke to your son.
Yes, “of course you spoke to your son”. Which is precisely what Democrats have been saying about the president and Don Jr. for two years.
Trump has denied speaking to his son whenever it’s convenient, with the most high profile example being the infamous Trump Tower meeting involving a lawyer connected to the Kremlin who promised but failed to deliver dirt on Hillary Clinton.
To quote a “wise” man, “Who wouldn’t speak to your son?”