Trump suddenly haunted by anti-Biden tantrum from New Year’s Day

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On New Year’s Day, Donald Trump spent the holiday the way he tends to honor most special occasions: The former president published a series of hysterical tirades to his social media platform. On Jan. 1, his preoccupation was with his dubious “absolute immunity” claims. The Republican wrote:

“REMEMBER, if I don’t have Presidential Immunity, then Crooked Joe Biden doesn’t have it either, and he would certainly be Prosecuted for his many ACTUAL CRIMES, including illegally receiving massive amounts of money from foreign countries, including China, Ukraine, and Russia, paying off Ukraine to fire an unfriendly prosecutor, allowing millions of people to illegally Enter and Destroy our Country, SURRENDERING in Afghanistan, with Hundreds Dead, many Americans Left Behind, and handing over Billions of Dollars Worth of the Best Military Equipment anywhere on Earth, the Decimation of American Wealth through the Green New Scam, and so much more.”

On Monday afternoon, when he published this weird missive, it didn’t cause much of a stir. Given the frequency with which Trump has online meltdowns, most observers saw the tirade, rolled their eyes, and moved on.

But given the latest revelations from Democratic investigators in Congress, it’s worth revisiting the former president’s online rant.

Right off the bat, Trump’s core argument — if he can be prosecuted for his alleged crimes, others might also be prosecuted for their alleged crimes — isn’t nearly as persuasive as he seems to think. Indeed, in a country that takes the rule of law seriously, this is how the system is supposed to work.

What’s more, his case against President Joe Biden is gibberish. Whether one agrees with the Democratic incumbent or not, several of the policy decisions Trump included in his harangue were politically contentious, but not illegal. Relatedly, the idea that Biden “paid off Ukraine to fire an unfriendly prosecutor” is discredited nonsense, as even Trump ought to know.

There’s also, of course, a political dimension to the former president’s brazen dishonesty: The more he talks about prosecuting Biden, the more we’re reminded that the Republican is desperate to return to the White House in order to exact revenge on his perceived political foes.

But what makes Trump’s Jan. 1 rant especially notable now was one specific claim: The Republican, hoping to identify “actual crimes,” accused Biden of “illegally receiving massive amounts of money from foreign countries, including China.”

In reality, of course, the Democratic incumbent never received massive amounts of money from foreign countries — but there’s fresh evidence that the politician making the allegation did.

As we discussed yesterday, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released a devastating 156-page report called “White House For Sale.” Relying on documents from Trump’s former accounting firm, congressional researchers determined that the Republican’s businesses received “at least” $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments — over a two year period — while Trump was in the White House, despite the prohibitions in the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

As an NBC News report added, China was “the leading spender, paying more than $5.5 million to Trump-owned properties.”

Or put another way, the former president accusing his successor of illegally receiving massive amounts of money from China oversaw a business empire — during his time in office — that appears to have illegally received massive amounts of money from China.

If it seems like the Republican’s I’m-rubber-you’re-glue approach to the public discourse keeps coming up, it’s not your imagination. Accused of being an insurrectionist, Trump called Biden an “insurrectionist.” Accused of attacking democracy, Trump says Democrats are attacking democracy. Accused of being a “puppet” for Vladimir Putin, for example, Trump said Hillary Clinton was the actual puppet. (“No puppet, no puppet,” he said. “You’re the puppet.”) Accused of obstructing justice, Trump said Democrats were obstructing justice. Accused of executing a quid pro quo with Ukraine, Trump said it was his partisan foes who executed a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

Accused of racism, Trump said his critics are racist. When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he had a “meltdown” during behind-the-scenes negotiations, Trump said Pelosi had a “meltdown.” Confronted with allegations that his political operation cooperated with Russian operatives, Trump said Democrats colluded with Russia. Told that the Kremlin supported his candidacy, Trump responded by saying Russia supported Democrats.

More recently, after Trump tried to get the Justice Department to go after his political foes, he falsely accused Biden of trying to get the Justice Department to go after his political foes. When prosecutors accused the former president of committing crimes, he accused them of committing crimes.

In May 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz — at the time, Trump’s rival for the GOP nomination — said the future president “is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying. … Whatever he does, he accuses everyone else of doing.”

It now appears this applies to legally dubious payments from China, too.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

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