On the same day that legal experts and political opponents proclaimed that President Donald Trump engaged in "blatantly impeachable" offenses—and that even the White House-approved "not-a-transcript" released earlier in the day was itself a "smoking gun" of flagrant violations of campaign finance laws—the president offered rambling, quasi-coherent to the press late Wednesday afternoon as he tried to defend himself for asking the Ukraine president to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden.
"Impeachment? For that?" Trump said during the press conference in New York.
Trump says Democrats planned the latest stage of their “witch hunt” to coincide with the UN General Assembly to discredit him.
“That was all planned, like everything else,” he says. “Impeachment, for that?” pic.twitter.com/OIlN6aVDPC
— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 25, 2019
Asked directly by a reporter if it was appropriate for a sitting U.S. president to ask the leader of a foreign nation to look into his political rivals, Trump said, "I didn't do it."
The call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump continued, was "perfect" and a "beautiful conversation."
When it was put to him as a hypothetical—if his predecessor Barack Obama had done something similar to him—Trump falsely claimed that this is something that actually did happen.
A reporter just asked Trump how he would have reacted if Obama had asked a foreign leader for dirt on him. Trump replied by saying that’s what Obama did. He offers no evidence of course for this ludicrous new lie and none of the reporters present have so far pushed back.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) September 25, 2019
Throughout Trump's comments he repeatedly accused—again without providing any evidence—that Biden, and his son Hunter Biden, were involved in some kind of corruption in Ukraine—a charge that has not been substantiated but continues to be boldly peddled by Trump, Republican lawmakers, and others in the right-wing echo chamber.
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace cuts away from Trump's press conference to fact check his lies. pic.twitter.com/M5wkczGMWK
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) September 25, 2019
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Part of a widening pattern, observers noted how impossible it has become to keep up with Trump's torrent of falsehoods.
Impossible to fact-check so many false and misleading statements in real time, CNN national media corresponder Oliver Darcey re-upped his concern about airing Trump's speeches in real-time—a practice that allows the president to spew lies unchecked to millions of people at a time.
Related: I wrote earlier this year about whether networks should air Trump's comments in real-time https://t.co/6AQGIR2pgw
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 25, 2019
As Darcy wrote in a report published earlier this year, "the practice of airing Trump's remarks in real-time ... gives the President a platform to reach millions of people at once and dominate the conversation —and Trump often uses the opportunity to deceive viewers by peddling misinformation and falsehoods."
Shortly after Trump's press conference, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) emerged on Capitol Hill after reading the official whistleblower complaint that sparked the still unfolding controversy and said he found the document "deeply disturbing" and the complaint itself "very credible."
Rep. Adam Schiff: "I've had the opportunity as have members of the committee to read the whistleblower complaint. I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible." pic.twitter.com/VNpwGXN7F5
— The Hill (@thehill) September 25, 2019
On Thursday, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who had previously barred members from seeing the complaint, will be testifying before the committee.
Watch the entire press conference below: