Trump responds to Ukraine whistleblower scandal with contradictions and transparent falsehoods

He attempted to suggest that the whistleblower in question had political motives by describing them as “a partisan” — even though he later said he doesn’t know who he or she is. He insisted the conversations he had with Ukrainian officials that are now under scrutiny were “totally appropriate” and “beautiful,” and later said he can’t remember them. He said he hadn’t read the whistleblower complaint, but then in the next breath claimed “everybody’s read it, they laugh at it.”

And, in any event, the nation’s top elected official said “it doesn’t matter what I discuss” with foreign leaders.

“Our media has become the laughingstock of the world,” Trump said, before going on downplay the entire scandal as “another media disaster” and insulting the assembled reporters.

“The media of our country is laughed at all over the world now. You’re a joke,” he said.

But this particular scandal did not originate with the media or with Democratic operatives. It originated with a member of the US intelligence community filing a whistleblower complaint with the intelligence community inspector general just over a month ago about Trump’s communications with Ukraine — one that the inspector general found to be “urgent” and “credible.” But the Trump administration, in possible violation of federal law, is doing everything possible to prevent the inspector general from going public with details.

Details are trickling out nonetheless, and the revelation that Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate one of his political rivals appears to be a textbook abuse of power. During the Friday media availability, Trump characterized his discussions with Zelensky as “totally appropriate” and “beautiful.” But he later seemed to contradict himself by saying he can’t recall the conversation or conversations at the heart of the whistleblower’s complaint.

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