Donald Trump held a press conference on Wednesday with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. It was, predictably, a circus.
Judging by the US president’s incessant stream of unhinged tweets (which, over the past five or so days, have included references to “spies”, “treason”, “coup” attempts and “civil war”), Trump is in no condition to be meeting with foreign leaders. His interaction with the media on Wednesday was cringe-worthy, even by his standards.
“That was a perfect conversation!”, Trump literally shouted, in defense of his phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
“But, the whistle-blower wrote, not that conversation – he wrote another conversation”, a totally incoherent Trump fumed. “Another words, he either got it totally wrong, made it up or the person giving the whistle-blower the information is dishonest”, he continued. “And this country has to find out who that person was”.
As a reminder, what Trump is suggesting, on camera, in public, in front of another world leader, is literally illegal. He is violating laws around whistle-blower protections right out in the open. Additionally, the president is again trying to contend that the whistle-blower’s account of the July 25 phone call is not accurate despite the fact that the retelling of the call in the complaint almost exactly matches the account of the call released by the White House.
Trump then said this:
Because that person is a spy. You ready? When a whistle-blower, purposefully or not, gives something totally erroneous – now, here’s where I fooled them. They never thought I’d release the conversation. They never thought in a million years that I’d release the conversation. When little Adam Schiff saw the text, when he read it, he couldn’t believe it. When Nancy Pelosi, who worked a day early, Nancy Pelosi called for essentially impeachment. ‘Let’s impeach the president’ before she saw the transcript. And this is an exact word-for-word transcript of the conversation right? Taken by very talented stenographers. Listen to me. So when she saw that- she – she – I heard – she went crazy. She said ‘We can’t impeach him on this conversation, that’s a great conversation’.
Some of that is so incoherent as to be impenetrable. The rest of it is just made up. It wasn’t a “word-for-word” transcript, and, again, the simple fact of the matter is that the account of the call released by the White House is, in fact, being cited in the impeachment probe. Everyone read it. It’s a disaster. It’s incriminating in the extreme. So much so that it was locked away on a code-word protected computer server normally reserved for top-secret intelligence.
And yet, he continues to not only deny reality, but to call attention to the transcript. “The only thing that matters is that actual transcript”, the president emphasized on Wednesday, tracing a square with his hands to illustrate what a piece of paper looks like. “It was perfect!”, he declared.
Trump also claimed that Democrats aren’t really worried about any of this at all, but are actually more concerned about 2016, because they (Democrats, as a group) are “guilty as hell”.
As you can see, Trump again threatened to unleash William Barr on his political enemies, in yet another example of the president committing crimes not just out in the open, but on television for the whole world to see. (You can’t just instruct the attorney general to go out and launch investigations into political rivals for the sole purpose of advancing your reelection bid.)
At one juncture, Trump claimed that Congress should investigate an unspecified phone conversation between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin during which Obama said, according to Trump, “Hey, hey Vad – Vlad – I’ll talk to him after the election’s over”.
Trump dedicated quite a bit of time to maligning Schiff who Trump has variously suggested should be “arrested” for “treason” and “brought up on charges”. While seated with Niinistö, Trump called the congressman “a lowlife” who couldn’t even hold Mike Pompeo’s “blank strap”.
Apparently, Trump thinks the term “jock strap” is too offensive to be uttered by the president on television, despite the fact that just minutes before, he tweeted the following to 65.1 million people:
The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223-306. Get a better candidate this time, you’ll need it!