President Trump did not mince words on Monday when voicing his feelings toward the media’s coverage of reports that the president pressured Ukraine's leader to help investigate political rival Joe Biden.
Calling the White House press corps “crooked as hell,” a riled up Trump slammed the media for “double standards” over what he claimed was the failure of the press to report on allegations of unsubstantiated wrongdoing by Biden and his son, Hunter, related to dealings with Kyiv.
“Joe Biden and his son are corrupt, but the fake news doesn’t want to report because they’re Democrats,” Trump said in New York during United Nations meetings. “If a Republican ever did what Joe Biden did, if a Republican ever said what Joe Biden said, they’d be getting the electric chair.”
Trump added: Look at the double standards, you people ought to be ashamed of yourselves…You got a lot of crooked journalists, you’re crooked as hell.”
The president’s heated comments came as congressional Democrats are pressing for a full disclosure of a whistleblower's complaint about Trump’s phone call with newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Trump acknowledged Monday that he didn't want to give money to Ukraine if there were corruption issues. His comments raised further questions about whether he improperly used his office to pressure the country into investigating the former vice president and his family.
"It's very important to talk about corruption," Trump told reporters as he opened meetings at the United Nations. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is, is corrupt?"
Trump has sought to implicate Biden and his son, Hunter, in the kind of corruption that has long plagued Ukraine. Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kyiv. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by either the former vice president or his son.
The matter is under new scrutiny following the whistleblower's mid-August complaint, which followed Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. The person who filed the complaint did not have firsthand knowledge of the call, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Lawmakers are demanding details of the complaint, but the acting director of national intelligence has refused to share that information, citing presidential privilege. Trump hinted on Monday that he may release the details of the phone conversation, but said its contents mainly consisted of congratulating the new Ukrainian leader.
Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.