Trump Pivots to His Favorite Defense: The Democratic ‘Witch Hunt’

Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images)

We’ve seen enough of Donald Trump as president to know that anytime he or his administration are caught up in a new scandal, the response will always be to blame Democrats for mounting a “Witch Hunt” from the sordid and mythical world of the “Deep State.”

And why not? This almost laughable manner of responding plays well to his cultish base, and meanwhile, he believes nothing will come of the Democrats’ efforts to hold him accountable in Congress. So far, he hasn’t been wrong about that.

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In the latest scandal, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had pressured the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, eight times during a phone call in July to work with Rudy Giuliani on an investigation aimed at damaging Democratic candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 presidential elections in the U.S.

In a bonkers interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday, Giuliani first denied that he had pressured officials from Ukraine to investigate Biden, and then immediately admitted it seconds later. He accused Cuomo and other members of the news media of covering up a different alleged scandal involving Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who until recently worked for a gas company in Ukraine.

All of this follows reports that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is refusing to turn over to Congress a credible whistleblower complaint that is thought to denounce, in part, Trump’s phone call to Zelensky, among other allegations.

Trump responded this week by calling the mounting scandal “Fake News,” and saying that his phone call was “No problem!” because he knew intelligence agencies and others likely were listening in on the call.

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Biden responded by calling Trump’s actions “particularly abhorrent,” if true.

“If these reports are true, then there is truly no bottom to President Trump’s willingness to abuse his power and abase our country,” Biden said in a statement. “This behavior is particularly abhorrent because it exploits the foreign policy of our country and undermines our national security for political purposes.”

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The former vice president called on Trump to publicly release the transcript of the phone call and demanded that Maguire turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress.

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Hillary Clinton, who has a bit of experience in being the victim of such political manipulations by the Trump team, also weighed in on the issue:

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Trump lashed out again on Saturday, accusing the Democrats of “fabricating” the story to politically damage him, and repeating Giuliani’s attacks on Biden and the press. The president called the new scandal the “Ukraine Witch Hunt.” Clever.

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But as calls for Trump’s impeachment reached a fever pitch by the start of the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clearer than ever that she still opposes such a move. Instead, Pelosi wants the passage of a law that would allow future presidents to be indicted, which, of course, Donald Trump would never sign and Republican senators would never pass.

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