President Donald Trump has been facing another scandal in recent days following the revelation of a whistleblower complaint from someone in the intelligence community that’s apparently chronicling his communications with the Ukrainian president. According to reports, he pressured Ukraine to try and dig up dirt on the Bidens that the Trump campaign could use in a potential general election match-up against former Vice President Joe Biden. This week at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump flipped out on reporters over the growing push from House Democrats for scrutiny of the president over the conversation in question. He angrily asserted that the whole operation — including some who’ve floated the possibility of impeaching Trump in response — is just a “witch hunt.”
He shouted — including the blatant lie that he’s “leading in the polls”:
‘I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a witch hunt. I’m leading in the polls. They have no idea how to stop me the only way they can try is through impeachment. This has never happened to a president before. There’s never been a thing like this before — it’s nonsense, and when you see the call, when you see the readout of the call, which I assume you’ll see at some point, you’ll understand. That call was perfect. It couldn’t have been nicer, and even the Ukrainian government put out a statement that it was a perfect call that there was no pressure put on them whatsoever, but there was pressure put on with respect to Joe Biden. What Joe Biden did for his son — that’s something they should be looking at.’
To be clear, the majority of polls pitting Trump against leading Democratic presidential primary candidates like Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and even Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) have him behind. Against Biden, who still leads in polls covering the Democratic presidential primary field, Trump loses by an average of more than 11 percent, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of relevant polls.
Additionally, his characterization of investigations into his administration as having “never happened to a president before” is nonsense.
Just consider the impeachment of Bill Clinton over lies about an affair, and the near-impeachment of Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. And to be clear, in this case, there is plenty of demonstrable evidence of the president’s behavior in question, ranging from his team’s connections to Russia to his obstruction of justice. When he posts attempts to pressure investigators on social media, it’s not exactly ambiguous!
Although Trump mentioned the possibility of the press getting to actually see the transcript of his call with Ukrainian leadership that’s under scrutiny, that hasn’t happened yet.
The House Intel Committee and its allies are still trying to get the complaint itself, after officials including the acting Director of National Intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general have refused to hand it over, apparently at the direction of higher-ups in the Trump administration. That’s a small group of people including Trump himself — in other words, the obstruction continues, and Trump still refuses to see any problem with it.
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