Trump goes absolutely bonkers in crazed 20-minute rant
President Donald Trump on Friday went off on yet another lengthy rant in front of reporters in which he combined attacks on his political foes, false claims about the origins of the Russia investigation, and delusional proclamations about his presidency revitalizing the Christian faith.
The lengthy diatribe lasted for more than 20 minutes — below we recap the craziest highlights.
1.) Trump blatantly lies about Democrats’ reaction to his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian government to investigate potential 2020 rival Joe Biden.
“If you notice, they don’t mention the call I had with the president of Ukraine,” the president said. “They don’t mention that because it was so good! The only time they mentioned it was when Adam Schiff made it up!”
In reality, the call readout showing that Trump asked Zelensky for a “favor” and then brought up investigating Biden only sparked greater outcry from House Democrats and got more members of the caucus to officially support an impeachment inquiry.
2.) Trump gets called out for lying about his interest in having the Bidens investigated.
Just one day after directly calling on Ukraine and China to launch investigations into Biden, the president claimed that he wasn’t interested in going after Biden, but solely in tackling corruption in foreign countries.
A reporter called B.S. on the president, however, and asked him if he’d ever pressed a foreign country to crack down on corruption that didn’t purportedly involve one of his domestic political opponents.
“You know, we would have to look,” the president replied.
3.) Trump delivers bizarre monologue about how he’s “electrifying” Christianity.
The president touted his support from evangelical Christians and claimed he was helping bring the entire religion to new heights that had never been achieved.
“I got a call the other night from pastors, the biggest pastors, evangelical Christians,” the president said. “They said, ‘We have never seen our religion or any religion so electrified.’ They see they’ve never seen anything like it!”
4.) Trump tries distancing himself from incriminating State Department text messages by claiming he doesn’t know his own ambassadors.
Text messages shared with congressional investigators on Thursday showed that State Department officials believed that they would have to convince Ukraine’s government to investigate Joe Biden if they wanted to secure a meeting between President Zelensky and President Trump.
Trump, however, claimed to know nothing about such arrangements.
“I don’t even know most of these ambassadors, I don’t even know their names!” the president said.
5.) Trump falsely blames key American allies for the Russia investigation.
Even though the investigation into Russian connections with the 2016 Trump campaign began when former foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat about Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, the president still believes it was some kind of setup involving American allies.
“I was investigated!” the president complained. “I was investigated and they think it could have been by U.K., they think it could have been by Italy, they think it could have been by Australia!”
Second whistleblower coming forward with more information about Trump-Ukraine
President Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry continues to grow, according to a bombshell new report in The New York Times.
“A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress,” The Times reported, citing two people briefed on the matter.
“The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry,” the newspaper explained. “The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.”
“A new complaint, particularly from someone closer to the events, would potentially add further credibility to the account of the first whistle-blower, a C.I.A. officer who was detailed to the National Security Council at one point,” the newspaper noted. “Whistle-blowers have created a new threat for Mr. Trump. Though the White House has stonewalled Democrats in Congress investigating allegations raised in the special counsel’s report that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, the president has little similar ability to stymie whistle-blowers from speaking to Congress.”
Read the full report.
Impeachment focus now broadens to include Pence
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow broke down the rapidly intensifying impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his administration on Friday.
“At its heart, this is still very simple. Maybe that is why it is moving so fast. There is an unrebuttable central claim here, it remains very simply that the president asked a foreign country — and now it seems foreign countries, plural — for help,” she reported. “For help in his re-election against the Democrats.”
“That is potentially a crime, no American can solicit something of value for use in a federal election,” she noted.
“I think in the history books, if this all goes where it looks like it is going, today will go down in the history of the Trump impeachment as the day that the core impeachment inquiry — the central issue of this inquiry and the proceedings — shifted to include not just the president himself but also Vice President Pence,” she said.
“The explosion of news is the fact that this is an order that the president gave out that was, in fact, carried out by multiple people inside the U.S. government, including a number of people at very high levels of the U.S. government,” she concluded.
And — remember — if Trump and Pence are removed, the Speaker of the House is next in line to be President. President Pelosi — rightwingnut heads will explode!!!
Treasury Dept Inspector General will handle Trump’s taxes
The inspector general of the United States Treasury Department said on Friday that they will review the handling of President Donald Trump’s taxes.
The New York Times reports that the inspector general is specifically looking into how the department processed a congressional request for Trump’s tax returns that was made earlier this year.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) filed a request with the IG after the Treasury Department has stonewalled for months on handing over the tax returns, even though the law says that Treasury shall provide them upon written congressional request.
“Chairman Neal has asked Treasury O.I.G. to inquire into the process by which the department received, evaluated, and responded to the committee’s request for federal tax information,” Rich Delmar, Treasury’s acting inspector general, explained. “We are undertaking that inquiry.”
Neal has also received a whistleblower complaint alleging that officials at the Treasury Department are improperly interfering with an audit of the president’s taxes, although details about the handling of that complaint have yet to be published.