It seemed like every time you turned your TV on this week, Donald Trump was talking about Ukraine.
That’s an exaggeration, but not much of one. Trump held court twice on Thursday – once at a photo availability with the Finnish President and once in a more formal press briefing – and then worked the media rope line outside the White House for more than 20 minutes Friday morning before heading to Walter Reed hospital.
The President talking to the media is a good thing! For the media and the American public! But man oh man, is it a bad thing for this President – especially as he tries to downplay the potential damage the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House could do him.
Why? Because Trump has a habit of saying the quiet part out loud. Like on Thursday, when he said this about his desire for the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter:
“Well I would think that if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens. Likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So, I would say that President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens.”
(Sidebar: Trump almost certainly added China into that quote because he was aware of a story, first reported by CNN, that he had raised Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a June phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.)
Trump’s open urging that foreign countries open investigations into his primary rival for the presidency in 2020 led the New Yorker’s Susan Glasser to wonder “Did Donald Trump just Self-Impeach?”
Trump’s loquacity is born of two interconnected realities: 1) he believes himself to be his own best advocate and messenger and 2) when he feels back into a corner or in peril, his natural tendency is to unleash a series of verbal onslaughts at all available targets.
The problem for Trump here is that the more he talks, the more fodder he gives Democrats in their ongoing impeachment inquiry. It’s not all that different from Trump’s repeated public attempts to get in the way of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe – moves that led Mueller to make clear in his final report that he could not rule out the idea Trump had purposely obstructed the probe.
The Point: Trump has never understood that silence can be golden. And he won’t suddenly realize it now. But the more he talks, the more trouble he courts.
- Freewheeling Trump was often unprepared for foreign leader calls, had to be coached by staff
- Trump pressed Australian Prime Minister to help with Justice review of Russia probe origins
- CNN Poll: Support for impeaching Trump rises among independents and Republicans
- Ukrainians named in whistleblower report say Trump’s lawyer was clear about his hunt for dirt on Bidens
- Trump is using Facebook to run thousands of ads about impeachment
- McConnell: Senate would ‘have no choice but to’ take up House’s impeachment of Trump
- Trump circulates quote invoking ‘civil war-like fracture’ if he’s removed from office
- Federal judge blocks California law requiring Trump to release tax returns to appear on ballot
- FBI investigating alleged hacking attempt into mobile voting app during 2018 midterms
- New York Times: Trump suggested shooting migrants in the legs
- Deposition for House impeachment investigation delayed
- Federal judge blocks Georgia’s controversial abortion ban
- Rudy Giuliani hires Watergate prosecutor as attorney in impeachment inquiry
- Justice Department told to produce 500 pages of interview memos from Mueller investigation
- Robert Mueller returns to private law firm
- Pompeo accuses House Democrats of intimidation and bullying over Ukraine
- Trump sought to use new allies in debunking Russia investigation
- Kurt Volker: Diplomat never ‘fully on the Trump train’ set to appear as as first witness in Ukraine probe
- Trump’s private fury over impeachment spills into the public
- Whistleblower went to Intelligence Committee for guidance before filing complaint
- Justice Department tells White House to preserve notes of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders
- Democrats plan to subpoena White House for Ukraine documents
- Bernie Sanders off campaign trail ‘until further notice’ after being treated for artery blockage
- Putin jokes that Russia will meddle in 2020 US elections
- Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to ask ‘other Countries’ to investigate corruption
- New York Times: Trump envoys pressed Ukraine to commit to Investigate US political rivals
- Washington Post: IRS whistleblower report involves Treasury political appointee trying to interfere with presidential tax audit
- Source: Bias cited by intel watchdog was that whistleblower is a registered Democrat
- Mitch McConnell raises money vowing to stop impeachment
- Trump spends official event attacking Democrats and floating a conspiracy
- Bernie Sanders to take part in next debate and plans to leave hospital in coming days, campaign says
- Trump now says both China and Ukraine should investigate Bidens
- Twitter removes Trump’s Nickelback video after copyright complaint
- Treasury Inspector General launches probe into how Treasury handled request for tax information
- Iranian hackers targeted presidential campaign and US government officials
- Volker: Trump said Ukraine ‘tried to take me down’ and was influenced by negative information from Giuliani
- Supreme Court says it will consider Louisiana abortion access law
- Trump promised Xi US silence on Hong Kong democracy protests as trade talks stalled
- Ukraine will review probe into gas company linked to Biden’s son
And that was the week in 39 headlines.