Stories

Trump refuses to answer what he asked Ukrainian president to do about Bidens

President Trump refused to answer a question from Reuters' Jeff Mason about what he was asking Ukraine's president to do about Joe Biden and his son during a now-infamous July 25 phone call. Instead, Trump criticized European countries for not providing aid to Ukraine, attacked the impeachment investigation as a "hoax" and berated Mason for being "rude."

The exchange:

  • MASON: "The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son Hunter? 
  • TRUMP: "Are you talking to me?"
  • MASON: "Yes. It's just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir."
  • TRUMP: "Listen, are you ready? We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question."
  • MASON: "I have one for him. I wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you."
  • TRUMP: Did you hear me? Did you hear me? Ask him a question. I've given you a long answer, ask this gentleman a question. Don't be rude. I've answered everything. It's a whole hoax. And you know who's playing into this hoax? People like you and the fake news media that we have in this country. And I say in many cases, the corrupt media."

The big picture: Trump's bilateral press conference with the president of Finland was dominated by questions about the Ukraine investigation and the whistleblower.

  • Trump again accused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of "treason" and claimed, without evidence, that Schiff helped write the whistleblower complaint. This was in response to a New York Times story that reported that the whistleblower reached out to the House Intelligence Committee before filing his complaint.
  • Trump repeated a false claim about the summary of his call with Ukraine's president being "an exact transcript," despite the White House explicitly writing on the release that it was not verbatim.
  • The president also renewed his attacks on former special counsel Robert Mueller, lamenting that he got "3 days of peace" after the conclusion of the 2-year investigation before the Ukraine controversy burst into public view.
  • Trump concluded the press conference by claiming that U.S. democracy would be better off if the media were honest, singling out "the CNNs of the world, who are corrupt people."

Go deeper: Schiff calls Trump's whistleblower tweets "an incitement of violence"