President Donald Trump on Friday pushed a false right-wing conspiracy theory roundly debunked by U.S. officials — including during this week’s House impeachment hearings — among a cornucopia of false and nonsensical claims he made during a nearly hourlong phone call on “Fox & Friends.”
Trump seized on false reports that Ukraine hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s server during the 2016 election. (U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly affirmed it was Russia who interfered in the 2016 election.)
“A lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine. They have the server, right? From the DNC,” he said. “That’s what the word is.”
In damning testimony on Thursday, former National Security Council official Fiona Hill repeatedly urged Republicans to stop pushing the conspiracy theory.
“I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternate narrative that the Ukrainian government is a U.S. adversary, and that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked us in 2016,” Hill said. “These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes.”
Friday’s nearly hourlong interview devolved into a soliloquy, which frequently occurs when Trump calls into “Fox & Friends,” Fox News’ morning program that is typically friendly toward him.
Trump rambled and mentioned, often without context, some of his favorite targets, including (but not limited to): “shifty” and “sick puppy” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who’s leading the House impeachment inquiry; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), whom Trump referred to as “a bedbug”; former FBI Director James Comey, whom he called “a totally disgusting human being”; and “the two lovers,” former FBI staffers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Even the “Fox & Friends” hosts seemed perplexed at times, trying to squeeze in questions for the president and get him back on track — to little avail.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt repeatedly tried to shift the conversation to the 2020 campaign, but Trump frequently brought it back to his grievances over the impeachment proceedings.
When Trump finally did field questions on the Democratic primary field, he suggested former Vice President Joe Biden might not “make it mentally. He’s off.”
Trump also revived his racial slur against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), referring to her as “Pocahontas.”
At times, the hosts attempted to push back on his false claims or ask him to clarify. Co-host Steve Doocy asked Trump to provide a source for his spurious assertion that former President Barack Obama’s administration “spied on my campaign.” Trump would not name a source.
Doocy also debunked Trump’s false claim that only the U.S. gives aid to Ukraine, one of his defenses against the July 25 call to Ukraine’s president, which is at the center of the impeachment inquiry.
More than 50 minutes into Friday’s phone interview, after asking about the president’s health, co-host Brian Kilmeade suggested Trump call into the program every week as a form of “stress relief.”