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Trump blames media for his behaviour, makes series of false claims then says whistleblower's lawyer should be sued for treason

Peter Stubley
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Donald Trump has blamed the media for his behaviour before claiming the impeachment inquiry was a hoax and suggesting a whistleblower’s lawyer should be sued for treason.

The US president lashed out at the “fake news” - a pejorative term he routinely deploys to describe media outlets which publish stories that reflect badly in him - during a two-minute rant in response to criticism that his “unpresidential deportment” was tearing the country apart.

He then went on to falsely claim that he won the 2016 election by a landslide and he “created the greatest economy in the history of our country”.

The last landslide victory in a US presidential election came in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won 525 of the 538 electoral college votes - compared to Mr Trump's 304 in 2016.

Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for travel to Georgia from the South Lawn of the White House: Reuters
Donald Trump talks to reporters as he departs for travel to Georgia from the South Lawn of the White House: Reuters

The president also received 2.8 million fewer votes across the country than rival Hillary Clinton.

It began when Mr Trump was asked about billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, who suggested the president should not stand for re-election in 2020 unless he was prepared to change his behaviour.

Mr Trump replied: “Well, no, you really shaped my behaviour because from the day I came in here I’ve had problems with phoney stuff like a phoney dossier that turned out to be false, like false investigations that I beat.

“A lot of my behaviour was shaped by the fake news and the other side.”

Mr Trump added: “So I think in light of all of the things going on... the fake news... all of the bad things that went on, it’s called the swamp, you know what I did, a big favour, I caught the swamp. I caught them all, nobody else could have done this but me, I caught all of this corruption that was going on.”

He later claimed his supporters were “angry” about the Democrat impeachment inquiry, which is investigating allegations that Mr Trump urged Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Mr Trump said: “These [the Democrats] are crooked people, they lost the election, it was really a landslide from the electoral college standpoint...

“It’s a hoax. The whistleblower gave a fake report of my phone call... everything he wrote in that report almost was a lie, my phone call was perfect. He made it sound bad. The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country, he should be revealed.”

The president also turned on the whistleblower’s lawyer, Mark Zaid, who predicted in a tweet in 2017 that Mr Trump would be impeached.

“His lawyer who said the worst thing possible two years ago, he should be sued, and maybe for treason, but he should be sued,” the president said. “His lawyer is a disgrace.”

Mr Trump ended his answer by saying: “Despite all that we are kicking their ass.”

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