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Trump lashes out at reporter over impeachment inquiry question

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Trump lashes out at reporter over impeachment inquiry question
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REUTERS/Leah Millis
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US President Donald Trump lashed out at a reporter in a joint press conference with Finland President Sauli Niinistö when he was questioned over his reasons for asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his Democratic rival's son.

"Are you talking to me?" Trump asked Reuters' White House reporter Jeff Mason. Trump then told the reporter to ask Finland's president a question after Mason asked Trump to respond to the question about Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.

"Ask this gentleman a question. Don’t be rude,” Trump said, after which he criticised the US press, calling them "corrupt".

The exchange was part of a day filled with angry outbursts, with the US President writing an expletive on Twitter, stating that the Democrats were "wasting everyone's time and energy". House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry over the Ukraine phone call last week.

It was first brought to their attention by the intelligence community's inspector general and subsequent reports of a whistleblower complaint alleging Trump had abused the power of his office.

The House Intelligence Committee has since released a declassified version of the complaint in which the whistleblower said the US President used "the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 US election."

Trump lashed out against Democratic lawmakers and the whistleblower on Wednesday, attacking the lawmakers running the investigation into the July 25 phone call. He said the whistleblower's report is "very inaccurate".

But an edited transcript of Trump's phone call with Zelensky released by the White House confirmed aspects of the whistleblower's account.

The reconstructed transcript revealed that he had mentioned Biden, telling Zelensky: "a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great."

Trump maintains that he did nothing wrong during the phone call.

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