freewheeling
August 13, 2019

President Trump provided soundbites like it was 2016 (or, really, any year since) on Tuesday when speaking with reporters as he prepared to board Marine One.

Over the roar of the chopper, Trump re-upped a baseless conspiracy theory tying former President Bill Clinton to Jeffrey Epstein's death, criticized Chris Cuomo's recent outburst, and gave an ambivalent answer to a question about the situation in Hong Kong.

When asked about the protests in Hong Kong, Trump said he just wants the "very tough situation" to work out for "everybody, including China, by the way" and hopes "nobody gets killed." That answer may seem wishy-washy, but it appears to be in line with his strategy on the matter — Trump reportedly told Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. would tone down its criticism of China regarding its approach to Hong Kong, as Washington and Beijing try to iron out a trade deal. Still, that's not how everyone wanted him to respond.

The president also continued to tout the Clinton-Epstein conspiracy, arguing that investigators need to figure out whether Clinton, who frequently flew on Epstein's plane, ever went to the alleged sex trafficker's private island in the Caribbean. "If you find that out, you're going to know a lot," Trump said after being asked if he thought the Clintons were involved in Epstein's death in his Manhattan jail cell.

Trump was relatively coy with those answers, but he was anything but vague when discussing CNN's Cuomo, who was involved in an altercation on Monday evening after a man called him "Fredo." In Trump's mind, Cuomo wasn't actually acting like Michael Corleone's frustrated older brother in The Godfather, but a "total out of control animal." Tim O'Donnell

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