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Congressional Democrats made a somber case for impeachment Wednesday. President Trump responded with a tirade in the Oval Office, including a joke about a jockstrap, and a fever dream of a press conference.
“They’ve been trying to impeach me since the day I got elected, and you know what? They failed,” Trump yelled from the Oval Office. At a press conference later in the day with the president of Finland, Trump repeated his claim that he’s a “very stable genius."
Trump had already spent the day railing on Democrats and the press — even more so than he usually does. He’s facing an impeachment vote in the House over his request to the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Democrats see that as a pretty bold-faced abuse of the power of the presidency and warned if Trump tried to stonewall their investigation, they would consider that obstruction of justice and use it as ammo during impeachment proceedings.
Trump fired back on Wednesday and accused Schiff, without evidence, of helping to write the whistleblower’s report. The president apparently based that accusation on a report from the New York Times that published right before his press conference and indicated that Schiff’s staff had met with the whistleblower before they filed their complaint.
He also tweeted that the “Do Nothing Democrats” were “wasting everyone’s time and energy on BULLSHIT.”
Even for a president known for emotional outbursts, Wednesday’s press conference was remarkable.
Here’s the rundown of what Trump said in the Oval Office and during his impromptu presser:
Schiff couldn’t carry Pompeo’s “blank strap.”
“That guy couldn't carry his 'blank' strap,” Trump said of Schiff. What he probably meant to say was “jockstrap.” He also accused Schiff of treason and said he should be forced to resign from Congress.
The whistleblower “got it totally wrong.”
“The only thing that matters is the transcript of the actual conversation that I had with the president of Ukraine. It was perfect,” Trump said.
And also that the whistleblower doesn’t deserve protection.
Trump said the person who spilled the beans on his conversation with the Ukrainian president should only be protected if his or her claims are “legitimate.” That’s despite the fact that the whistleblower followed protocol in reporting the call.
Trump denied dreaming of “a moat with alligators and snakes” at the border.
The president addressed allegations brought to light in a New York Times story, published Tuesday, that suggested he sought cost estimates for building a moat along the border filled with alligators and snakes.
“I wanted a moat — a moat, whatever that is, it’s not a word that I use,” Trump said. “And in the moat, I wanted alligators and snakes, and I wanted the wall to be a fence, and I wanted it to be electrified.”
“Never said it, never thought about it,” Trump said. “It was written by Washington Post people, so you know it’s inaccurate.” (It was written by New York Times reporters.)
Trump accused Biden, once again, of being “corrupt.”
"Let me tell you something: Biden's son is corrupt and Biden is corrupt. And I'd rather run against Biden than almost any of those candidates," the president said. "I think Biden has never been a smart guy and he's less smart now than he ever was.”
Trump has repeatedly claimed that Biden, as vice president, pushed a Ukrainian prosecutor to drop an investigation into a company that Biden’s son sat on the board of. But there’s no evidence that Hunter Biden was under investigation or that Biden was protecting him.
Schiff “probably helped write” the whistleblower complaint.
“It shows that Schiff is a fraud,” Trump said during his press conference with the Finnish president, referring to the New York Times’ report that Schiff knew about the whistleblower complaint before it was filed.
“I think it’s a scandal that he knew before,” the president added. “I think he probably helped write it.”
Cameron Joseph contributed to this report.
Cover image: President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)