Trump leaves no stone unturned at impromptu presser; confronts press on so-called ‘damning’ texts

President Trump took aim at Democrats and other critics over recently-revealed text messages as he asserted again that there was no quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine.

The president spoke at length with reporters in front of the White House Friday, addressing the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against him, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

(Video: CNN via Twitter)

Trump was asked about text messages released by Democrats Thursday night as part of their impeachment inquiry which purport to show State Department officials discussing the Ukrainian president and efforts to pressure him to investigate Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country.

“The one text message that I saw was just about the last text message because I don’t even know most of these ambassadors. I didn’t even know their names,” Trump replied.

“The text message that I saw from Ambassador [Gordon] Sondland, who is highly respected, was there’s no quid pro quo. He said that,” the president continued.  “He said ‘by the way,’ it almost sounded like in general. By the way, there is no quid pro quo. There isn’t.”

“Now for Biden, there would be,” Trump added. “But listen to this. There is no quid pro quo. That was the text message that I saw and that nullified everything.”

Trump accused Biden of “pillaging” countries and hurting the U.S. when a reporter asked if the Justice Department was investigating the 2020 Democratic presidential contender.

“Is the Justice Department investigating Joe Biden? That you would have to ask Attorney General Barr,” Trump replied.

(Video: Fox News)

“But I can tell you, just as an observer, what I saw Biden do with his son, he is pillaging these countries and hurting us,” he said, adding that Biden would “roll out the red carpet” if he was negotiation the deal with China right now.

The president also asserted that his focus is on targeting and eliminating corruption, not engaging in political games to take out his potential rivals.

“So again, this doesn’t pertain to anything but corruption. And that has to do with me. I don’t care about politics. I don’t care about anything. But I do care about corruption,” he said.

“If a foreign country can help us with respect to corruption, and corruption probes, and — I don’t care if it’s Biden or anybody else. If they can help us. If Biden is corrupt, if his son is corrupt. When his son takes out billions of dollars and he has no experience,” Trump said, responding to another question about requesting foreign assistance in investigating alleged corruption.

“When they do that, that’s no good. So — just to finish your question. Anything having to do with corruption I actually feel I have an obligation to do that.”

The president also spoke directly about his letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and about feeling he has been “treated very unfairly and very different from everybody else.”

(Video: Fox News)

Asked if the White House would comply with Democrats and their subpoenas related to the impeachment inquiry, the president wasn’t sure.

“That’s up to the lawyers,” he told reporters, saying the attorneys indicated “they’ve never seen anything so unfair.”

“So the Democrats, unfortunately, they have the votes,” Trump said at one point, responding to a question about whether House Democrats would impeach if they had enough votes.

He felt that House members “could vote easily” to impeach him “even though most of them, many of them don’t believe they should do it.”

“I do believe that because of what they are doing with Pelosi and they’re real leaders, AOC plus three,” he added, referring to freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of “The Squad.”

“That’s their real leaders. I believe they’ll pay a tremendous price at the polls,” Trump added.

He also addressed potentially facing Biden at the polls if he is the Democratic nominee.

(Video: Fox News)

“I didn’t think and I don’t think Biden is going to win,” Trump said. “I’ve watched Biden over the years. Biden is not the brightest person. I never thought he was going to win. I never felt he was going to win.”

Asked about the possibility of running against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Trump said he would be “fine” with it.

“That’s fine. I mean it’s fine,” he replied. “She is a socialist and maybe worse than that. But we’ll see.”

Frieda Powers

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