Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE on Monday continued to defend an unflattering photo he shared on Twitter last week of GOP presidential rival Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war MORE's wife, saying it was an example of "counterpunching."

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"Frankly, all I’m doing is counterpunching what he did,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends,” continuing to claim that there are links between Cruz and the anti-Trump super-PAC behind an earlier ad featuring his wife Melania posing nude from a 2000 British GQ photoshoot.

"He sent the photo out, as sure as you're sitting there. He knew about it. Somebody even said he's the one that bought the copyrights from GQ. Now we'll find out who bought the copyrights from GQ. But he knew about it at a minimum," Trump said. "Let's not be naive, folks."

Cruz has repeatedly denied any connection to Make America Awesome, the anti-Trump super-PAC behind the Melania ad, and Trump has not offered evidence connecting the two. Super-PACs are barred from directly coordinating with a campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump on Monday also sought to deflect charges from Cruz that the businessman and his "henchmen" were behind a tabloid article in the National Enquirer last week alleging extramarital affairs.

"I had nothing to do with the National Enquirer. I knew nothing about it. I just saw it yesterday for the first time," Trump insisted on Fox.

Trump then pivoted to push a Daily Beast story from last week suggesting that allies of former Republican presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP senators plan to tune out impeachment week Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump Paul's demand to out whistleblower rankles GOP colleagues MORE peddled the rumors, with Trump calling it "a pretty conclusive story."

This report was updated at 8:24 a.m.