President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE on Sunday went on offense after a week that saw potential legal woes piling up against him.
The special counsel's investigation and the FBI's handling of cases concerning him were on the president's mind, as well as "Saturday Night Live" and several other issues, as Trump spent a rainy morning in Washington, D.C., sending a string of tweets.
Trump began the morning by raising the prospect of challenging the satirical NBC show in court, then revived his attacks on the FBI by blaming the bureau for causing his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to speak out against him.
The president went on to address the case of a Green Beret charged with murder, and capped off his morning by defending the policy of separating children from their families at the border.
The president had no public events scheduled for Sunday. The White House indicated shortly before 10 a.m. that there would be no added events, according to a pool report.
Trump has in the past filled similarly blank itineraries by lashing out on Twitter, but Sunday’s six-tweet outburst came at the conclusion of a particularly volatile week for the president.
In the past seven days, Trump had multiple candidates withdraw from consideration to be his chief of staff; publicly fought with Democrats about border security funding and vowed to own a government shutdown; watched his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, receive a three-year prison sentence in part for crimes he said he committed at Trump’s direction; and the president’s inauguration committee reportedly became the subject of a criminal investigation.
In his first tweet of the morning, Trump declared that a "real scandal" was the coverage he received on NBC and "Saturday Night Live." The comedy show opened its broadcast the previous night with a sketch depicting Trump's life had he not been elected president.
"It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials," Trump tweeted. "Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle!"
A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
The president, who has claimed he does not watch "SNL," has commented on the show multiple times on Twitter in recent months. Sunday marked the first time he questioned the legality of its mockery, though satirical speech is protected by the First Amendment.
Trump then turned his attention to the FBI.
The president alleged the bureau "broke into" Cohen's office, and claimed the raid caused his longtime associate to turn against him.
"Remember, Michael Cohen only became a 'Rat' after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Remember, Michael Cohen only became a “Rat” after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE! Why didn’t they break into the DNC to get the Server, or Crooked’s office?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
The FBI in April raided Cohen's home, office and hotel room, seizing troves of documents and computer files. The search warrants for the raids were approved by a federal judge, and came in part based on a referral from special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's office.
Cohen last week was sentenced to three years in prison for a host of federal crimes. The longtime Trump Organization employee said he violated campaign finance laws at the president's direction when he paid two women to remain quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.
The president has denied directing Cohen to break the law, and insisted the payments were not criminal.
For the second straight day, Trump claimed that thousands of texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former bureau employee Lisa Page were deleted.
"What an outrage as the totally compromised and conflicted Witch Hunt moves ever so slowly forward," Trump tweeted. "Want them!"
So where are all the missing Text messages between fired FBI agents Peter S and the lovely Lisa Page, his lover. Just reported that they have been erased and wiped clean. What an outrage as the totally compromised and conflicted Witch Hunt moves ever so slowly forward. Want them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
The DOJ's inspector general found that the messages were withheld because of a failure of the bureau's collection systems. While some of the messages contained anti-Trump content, there were no "discernible patterns" in the exchanges, the watchdog said.
Trump, who is known to be a regular Fox News viewer, cited the network in two of his other tweets.
He shared that he would review the case of Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, a Green Beret who was charged last week with the murder of an Afghan man stemming from a 2010 incident. Golsteyn could face the death penalty.
At the request of many, I will be reviewing the case of a “U.S. Military hero,” Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder. He could face the death penalty from our own government after he admitted to killing a Terrorist bomb maker while overseas. @PeteHegseth @FoxNews— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
Golsteyn, who has been investigated by the military since 2011, has said the man he shot was a bomb-maker working for the Taliban. He maintains that he did not violate rules of engagement in the shooting death.
Observers on social media noted that Trump's tweet came a short time after an attorney for Golsteyn appeared on "Fox & Friends."
In a subsequent tweet, the president quoted former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who said on the network that there was "no evidence" Trump colluded with Russia or committed a campaign finance violation.
Trump's final tweet of the morning attempted to defend his administration's policy of separating migrant families by repeating an inaccurate claim that the Obama administration had a similar policy. He went on to argue that the policy was necessary to prevent illegal immigration.
The Democrats policy of Child Seperation on the Border during the Obama Administration was far worse than the way we handle it now. Remember the 2014 picture of children in cages - the Obama years. However, if you don’t separate, FAR more people will come. Smugglers use the kids!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2018
Several news outlets have noted in recent weeks that Trump's assertion that the Obama administration had a policy of separating children from their families is inaccurate, and a reporter challenged Trump to his face last month on the claim.