At an impromptu news conference from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, President Donald Trump threatened trade war with the European Union, fumed about teen activist Greta Thunberg, and offered a questionable analysis of impeachment proceedings. Trump also said he knew about injuries suffered by U.S. troops in Iran's January 8 airstrike, but announced that no Americans were harmed because he didn't think their injuries were serious.
The 11 injured service members showed signs of concussions and were, as of last week, being treated for potential traumatic brain injuries.
Trump told reporters this morning that at the time of his initial statements, he "heard they had headaches and a couple of other things." Asked whether he considered potential brain trauma serious, Trump said he did not hear about this part until several days ago but still did not consider these to be "serious injuries relative to other injuries I've seen."
On Davos itself, Trump touted all the world leaders he was meeting and all the deals he was supposedly making. Which translates roughly to "expect more tariffs."
The European Union is "frankly, more difficult to do business with than China," said Trump.
"I wanted to wait till I finished China. I didn't want to go with China and Europe at the same time," Trump told CNBC's Joe Kernen. "Now China's done, and I met with the new head of the European Commission…And had a great talk. But I said, look, if we don't get something, I'm going to have to take action, and the action will be a very high tariffs on their cars and other things that come into our country."
Much of the focus at this morning's press conference was on impeachment proceedings, which began against Trump in the Senate yesterday. (The president admitted he's been sneaking a peek at them when he can from Davos.) Congressional Democrats have no case because "we have all the material, they don't have the material," Trump said.
He repeated his assertion that his conversation with Ukraine's president was "perfect" and that the impeachment proceedings are "a hoax." Asked whether he still thinks climate change is a hoax, however, Trump said, "No, not at all."
(Perhaps he's just trying to boost his chances with Time magazine…Asked about a Davos speech by Thunberg—Time's 2019 person of the year—Trump first asked how old she was and then commented "she beat me out for Time.")
Trump also suggested that he still feels sorry for former President Bill Clinton over impeachment:
Watch the whole press conference here.
Impeachment to take longer. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) announced revised rules for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate, after everyone complained about his initial plan, which would have seen much of the proceedings going on in the middle of the night.
"Both parties will now have 24 hours each over the course of three days to present evidence, as opposed to the two days that were originally allotted," notes Reason's Billy Binion. And:
McConnell also altered a rule that would have blocked House evidence unless the Senate voted to admit it. Now all relevant documents will be automatically entered into the record and barred only if the Senate votes to exclude them.
- More evidence of corruption in Kamala Harris world: