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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"

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.