If you’ve been following the decay of the president’s brain recently as he repeatedly stands and barks at reporters in front of a noisy helicopter, I think you’ll find Donald Trump’s jumbled comments today to be a doozy of a rant.
Trump, who looked like he hadn’t slept at all, was forced to address the latest scandal in which he is accused of extorting Ukrainian officials into investigating one of his political rivals in the 2020 campaign, Vice President Joe Biden.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, already has admitted he tried to influence Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, on behalf of Trump. Several news organizations also have reported on these efforts, which include a July phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During that call, Trump allegedly pressured Zelensky about eight times to work with Giuliani to dig up dirt on the Bidens.
On Sunday, Trump mostly admitted that he had spoken about Biden with Zelensky.
“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption, all of the corruption taking place, was largely the fact that we don’t want our people like Vice President Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine, and Ukraine’s got a lot of problems,” Trump said, in what isn’t even my favorite Trump quote of the day.
He also praised acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, the guy who in violation of federal law refuses to turn over to Congress a credible whistleblower complaint determined by the Intelligence Community Inspector General to be a matter of “urgent concern.”
“He is a great gentleman, Joe...He’s only going to do what’s right,” the president said about Maguire.
On the president’s Twitter account, Trump, or someone in his circle who has access to it, was busy all morning ranting about Brett Kavanaugh, retweeting Fox News reports smearing the Bidens, and calling the press, yet again, the “enemy of the people.”
Using Fox News, the president also elevated his defense of the Ukraine scandal to the next Trumpian level—which follows the “So what?” stage—by declaring that he’s being spied on and attacked by the intelligence community. (Never mind that Trump had his own administration officials making the rounds on Sunday news shows to highlight the fact that everyone knows people are listening in on the conversations, as if that were a defense of the president.) Being “spied on” was the same allegation Trump used countless times to defend himself during the Russia investigation.
This also made me laugh:
But my favorite Trump comment so far today is when he revealed something about himself—albeit unintentionally—regarding that other corruption scandal that occurred the last time he and his family tried to enlist help from a foreign power to influence U.S. elections in his favor.
Remember that June 2016 meeting that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort had with Russian operatives at Trump Tower? The one in which Don Jr. sought “damaging information” about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton? After that scandal blew up, both Don Jr. and Trump adamantly denied speaking to each other about the meeting, a laughable defense.
Today, Trump unwittingly spilled the beans on that. While attempting to smear Biden, Trump said, “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.”
For his part, Biden defended himself on Saturday while campaigning in Iowa.
“This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power, to get on the phone with a foreign power who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me, if that’s what happened, that’s what appears to have happened,” Biden said, according to The Washington Post. “Trump’s doing this because he knows I will beat him like a drum and is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try and smear.”
Biden’s campaign also sent reporters a memo that cited news organizations and appeared to undercut Trump’s allegations.
So much fun happening right now!