President Trump employed a now-familiar chorus on Tuesday when requested by reporters in London to touch upon Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s youthful son, who has been linked to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Whereas awaiting trial on sex-trafficking expenses in jail, Epstein allegedly killed himself.
“I don’t know Prince Andrew,” Trump responded, “however it’s a troublesome story.”
Though the president has been photographed with the outstanding member of the royal household on quite a few events, Trump doubled down on his declare. “I don’t know him, no,” he stated of Andrew, who has retreated to personal life after a lady who stated she was a part of Epstein’s teenage intercourse ring recognized the prince as one among her abusers.
Through the years, Trump has denied assembly or figuring out many individuals, together with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates; retired Marine Gen. John Allen; New York Times columnist David Brooks; former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and an unnamed woman who claimed he kissed her in the lobby of Trump Tower. Since turning into president, Trump has typically tried to distance himself from identified associates who’ve grow to be political liabilities. Up to now few months alone, the White Home has seemingly put that alibi on a “tape loop” when requested concerning the witnesses testifying within the Home impeachment inquiry. Whereas Trump clearly doesn’t know, or doesn’t keep in mind assembly, a few of them, in different instances his denials have the particular ring of implausibility. Right here’s a partial sampling:
Someday after Invoice Taylor, performing U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, gave his deposition to Home investigators through which he described the Trump administration’s efforts to persuade Kyiv to analyze Joe Biden and his son, Trump responded in a tweet.
By no means Trumper Republican John Bellinger, represents By no means Trumper Diplomat Invoice Taylor (who I don’t know), in testimony earlier than Congress! Do Nothing Democrats permit Republicans Zero Illustration, Zero due course of, and Zero Transparency….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Requested by White Home reporters in November concerning the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who he fired in Could on the behest of Rudy Giuliani, Trump was determined.
“I actually don’t know her,” Trump stated of Yovanovitch, however went on to say that he had relieved her of her publish as a result of he had misplaced confidence in her. Throughout his July 25 name with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump referred to as Yovanovitch “dangerous information” and stated she was “going to undergo some dangerous issues.”
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
“I don’t know these gents,” Trump advised reporters in October about Parnas and Fruman, two mysterious Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, after their indictment on marketing campaign finance expenses. “Now it’s attainable I’ve an image with them as a result of I’ve an image with everyone.”
In reality, a number of photos have turned up exhibiting Trump with the 2 males, who seem to have been on the middle of the trouble to persuade Ukraine’s authorities to announce an investigation of Biden. After Trump disavowed him, Parnas, miffed over the snub, ditched his Trump-connected lawyer for a brand new one who says his consumer has “exhausting proof” of wrongdoing throughout the administration.
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
A Nationwide Safety Council skilled who listened in on Trump’s July 25 name with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky gave damaging testimony at a Home listening to.
“It was improper for the president to request, to demand an investigation right into a political opponent, particularly a overseas energy the place there may be at finest doubtful perception that this may very well be an neutral investigation and that this might have vital implications if it turned public information,” Vindman advised the Home Intelligence Committee.
That very same day, Trump sought to clarify that he didn’t know Vindman, even if he works within the White Home. “I do not know Vindman in any respect,” Trump stated throughout a Cupboard assembly. “I by no means heard of him.”
Testifying alongside Vindman, State Dept. official and nationwide safety adviser to the vp Jennifer Williams advised lawmakers that she discovered Trump’s July 25 name with Zelensky to be “inappropriate.” However that Williams had been on the decision, Trump asserted she didn’t have sufficient data to render a judgment on it.
Inform Jennifer Williams, whoever that’s, to learn BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the simply launched ststement from Ukraine. Then she ought to meet with the opposite By no means Trumpers, who I don’t know & principally by no means even heard of, & work out a greater presidential assault!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2019
Earlier than Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, agreed to testify earlier than the Home Intelligence Committee, Trump praised him as “a very good man and nice American.”
I might like to ship Ambassador Sondland, a very good man and nice American, to testify, however sadly he could be testifying earlier than a completely compromised kangaroo courtroom, the place Republican’s rights have been taken away, and true info usually are not allowed out for the general public….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2019
Sondland, a businessman who runs a resort chain and had no authorities or worldwide expertise, donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund. After his appointment, Sondland performed a number one function in relaying Trump’s requests to Zelensky.
Requested if Trump provided to reinstate suspended army assist to Ukraine in alternate for a public announcement of an investigation into the Bidens, Sondland testified:
“I do know that members of this committee regularly body these difficult points within the type of a easy query: Was there a quid professional quo? As I testified beforehand with regard to the requested White Home name and the White Home assembly, the reply is sure.”
Later that day, Trump walked again his affiliation with Sondland.
“I don’t know him very nicely. I’ve not spoken to him a lot,” Trump advised reporters.
It appears that evidently a surefire approach for Trump to neglect that he is aware of an individual is for them to criticize the president. When rap music producer and former “Movie star Apprentice” contestant Lil John referred to as Trump an “Uncle Tom,” Trump advised Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker, “I don’t know who Lil Jon is. I don’t — I actually don’t.”
Trump’s personal tweets threw that declare into query, nevertheless.
Although he had as soon as referred to Papadopoulos, an adviser to his marketing campaign, as “an power and oil advisor, glorious man,” Trump’s reminiscence grew hazy following Papadopolous’s responsible plea on expenses that he lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russia throughout the 2016 presidential election.
“I don’t know him. I noticed him sitting, in a single image, at a desk with me. That’s the — that’s the one factor I learn about him,” Trump advised reporters.
Papadopolous’s boast in Could of 2016 to an Australian diplomat that Russia had filth on Hillary Clinton is cited by the FBI as the explanation it start its investigation into the Trump marketing campaign’s ties to Russia. Finally, that probe turned the premise for the Mueller report, the ultimate model of which included the next passage about Trump’s reminiscence of occasions:
“We famous, amongst different issues, that the President acknowledged on greater than 30 events that he ‘doesn’t recall’ or ‘keep in mind’ or have an ‘impartial recollection’ of knowledge referred to as for by the questions. Different solutions have been ‘incomplete or imprecise.’”
As with Sondland, Trump has described his relationship along with his former communications director (who lasted within the place for under per week and a half in 2017) in conflicting phrases. Regardless of figuring out Scaramucci for years in New York and co-hosting fundraisers with him for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, Trump claimed he “barely knew him” earlier than appointing him to his place within the White Home, which he misplaced after he indulged in a profanity-laced rant to a reporter.
Scaramucci has since grow to be a Trump critic who in contrast the president’s loyal Republican backers to officers of the Nazi-era Vichy authorities in France.
Anthony Scaramucci is a extremely unstable “nut job” who was with different candidates within the main who received shellacked, & then sadly wheedled his approach into my marketing campaign. I barely knew him till his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a idiot of himself, dangerous on TV. Abused workers,…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
The sliding scale Trump applies to what qualifies concerning figuring out folks has additionally been utilized to Russia’s president. As accusations of Russian election meddling started heating up throughout the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, Trump gave an interview to ABC Information. He tried to clarify away his previous statements about Putin, together with his 2014 assertion that “I used to be in Russia, I used to be in Moscow just lately. And I spoke not directly — and straight — with President Putin, who couldn’t have been nicer,” and his declare in 2015 that “I received to know him [Putin] very nicely as a result of we have been each on ‘60 Minutes.’” (They were, but on separate continents.) His forwards and backwards with “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos in July of 2016 helps illustrate how the president frames, and infrequently reframes, his interactions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What precisely is your relationship with Vladimir Putin?
TRUMP: I’ve no relationship to — with him. I’ve no relationship with him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: However you probably have no relationship with Putin, then why did you say in 2013, I do have a relationship. In 2014, I spoke —
TRUMP: As a result of he has stated good issues about me over time. I keep in mind years in the past, he stated one thing — a few years in the past, he stated one thing very good about me. I stated one thing good about him when Larry King was on. This was a very long time in the past. And I stated he’s a troublesome cookie or one thing to that impact.
He stated one thing good about me. This has been occurring. We did “60 Minutes” collectively. By the best way, not together-together, which means he was most likely shot in Moscow —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Effectively, he was in Moscow —
TRUMP: — and I used to be shot in New York.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — you have been in New York. However that’s the factor.
TRUMP: No, simply so that you perceive, he stated very good issues about me, however I’ve no relationship with him. I don’t — I’ve by no means met him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you stated for 3 years, ’13, ’14 and ’15, that you just did have a relationship with him.
TRUMP: No, look, what — what do you name a relationship?
I imply he treats me —
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m asking you.
TRUMP: — with nice respect. I’ve no relationship with Putin. I don’t suppose I’ve ever met him. I by no means met him. I don’t suppose I’ve ever met him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ll know for those who did.
TRUMP: I feel so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I imply if he —
TRUMP: Sure, I feel so. So I’ve — I don’t suppose I’ve ever met him. I imply if he’s in the identical room or one thing. However I don’t suppose so.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You by no means spoke to him on the telephone?
TRUMP: I’ve been in Moscow. I didn’t meet him in Moscow. The place?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve by no means spoken to him on the telephone?
TRUMP: I’ve by no means spoken to him on the telephone, no. I’ve converse — I’ve spoken — once we had the Miss Universe contest plenty of years in the past, we had Miss Universe in Moscow, within the Moscow space, he was invited. He wished to come back. He wasn’t capable of come.
That may have been a time after I would have met him.
STEPHANOPOULOS: However a — I simply need to clear this up, since you did say on three completely different events you had a relationship with him. Now you say there may be not.
TRUMP: Effectively, I don’t know what it means by having a relationship. I imply he was saying excellent issues about me, however I don’t have a relationship with him. I didn’t meet him. I haven’t frolicked with him.
Since that interview, Trump has met Putin many occasions, and has not had event to disclaim it.
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