Trump puts pressure on GOP, dismisses Biden and jabs media in Saturday tweetstorm

President Trump on Saturday lashed out at the Obama administration’s early handling of the Russia investigation, mocked the news media and flatly dismissed his presumptive Democratic rival Joe Biden in an hours-long tweetstorm.

Trump, who is at Camp David for the weekend, spent much of the first half of Saturday sharing various articles and tweets aimed at buttressing his allegations against Obama-era officials and poking at various perceived critics.

The president’s tweets come as his administration faces growing scrutiny over its lack of a national plan to handle the coronavirus pandemic while some states begin to open. The social media storm also comes amid fresh backlash over his move Friday to oust a top government watchdog.

Several of Trump’s tweets Saturday focused on his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whom the president has vociferously defended after the Justice Department recently moved to drop its case against him. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with a Russian official before Trump took office, has since sought to withdraw his plea.

Trump retweeted several articles from Judicial Watch, a conservative nonprofit activist group, with one tweet claiming that “the targeting of Gen. Flynn was a key part of the Obama/Clinton/Deep State coup against @realDonaldTrump.”

The president also circled back to a viral video of New York City residents confronting a local TV reporter in Long Island who was covering their protest of stay-at-home orders this week. Trump shared video of the incident late Friday, writing, “FAKE NEWS IS NOT ESSENTIAL!” before retweeting it on Saturday and praising the protesters as “great people!”

Trump eventually turned his attention to Biden, his presumptive Democratic opponent in November’s general election. He claimed that the former vice president, whom he referred to by the derisive nickname “Sleepy Joe,” was “not even a factor” and asserted he is actually running against the “Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats” and the “Fake News Media.”

That jab followed a campaign update from Biden’s team on Friday in which aides sounded a confident note about the former vice president’s prospects in November, saying he could secure upward of 318 electoral votes — more than the 270 needed to win the White House.

Trump on Saturday also shared a series of tweets from conservative media figures focusing on “Obamagate,” a term the president has used while airing grievances over the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s contacts with Russia in 2016.

The president has repeatedly lashed out at his predecessor over the past week after former President Obama said that Attorney General William Barr was threatening the rule of the law by dropping the Department of Justice’s case against Flynn. Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI about contacts the former national security adviser had with a Russian official.

After Trump tweeted “OBAMAGATE” earlier in the week, Obama tweeted a simple apparent rebuke: “Vote.”

The president has pushed the narrative that Obama tried to undermine Trump’s incoming presidency by going after Flynn. Trump frequently refers to the Flynn case — a key part of the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election — as a “Russian hoax.”

Later, Trump shared a tweet directed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that focused on the Russia probe and stated that the GOP leader should be “addressing the hoax and holding the hoaxers accountable.” Trump urged McConnell to “get tough and move quickly.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that his panel would begin holding hearings in June regarding “all things related to Crossfire Hurricane,” the name for the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign.

Graham, however, pushed back on the notion of calling on Obama to testify, something Trump demanded in a tweet earlier in the week.

“I think it would be a bad precedent to compel a former president to come before the Congress. That would open up a can of worms, and for a variety of reasons, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Biden in a tweet on Saturday afternoon sought to put the focus back on Trump’s decision the previous day to oust the State Department’s inspector general, Steve Linick, a move that has provoked strong criticism from Democrats who see it as part of a “dangerous pattern of retaliation” against government watchdogs.

“It seems the way to get fired by President Trump is not to commit wrongdoing, but to investigate it,” Biden wrote.

Trump traveled to Camp David on Friday evening after announcing new members of the White House coronavirus task force and unveiling a team to lead a federal public-private effort to accelerate production of a vaccine to combat the coronavirus.

The White House in recent days has sought to cast itself as in control of the pandemic response, with Trump traveling to a distribution center to tout the availability of medical protective gear and the White House press secretary detailing that the administration has its own pandemic preparedness plan.

Still, experts say a national testing strategy will be key to prevent future outbreaks and allow different parts of the country to safely reopen, after the president suggested this week that widespread testing may be “overrated” and encouraged states to reopen businesses.

Trump tweeted Saturday, “We’ve done a GREAT job on Covid response, making all Governors look good, some fantastic (and that’s OK), but the Lamestream Media doesn’t want to go with that narrative, and the Do Nothing Dems talking point is to say only bad about ‘Trump’. I made everybody look good, but me!”

Tags Biden Coronavirus deep state DOJ Donald Trump Donald Trump Joe Biden Lindsey Graham Michael Flynn Mitch McConnell Obama Twitter William Barr William Barr

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