The president seems to have a lot he wanted to get off his chest. And he did exactly that Thursday morning on “Fox & Friends.”
President Trump called in to his favorite morning show for a wide-ranging interview during which the animated — and at times angry — commander in chief weighed in on several scandals swirling around his administration. Chief among them: special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.
The president chastised the Justice Department for greenlighting the Russia probe into his campaign’s alleged ties with Russia rather than pursuing a separate investigation into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
“Our Justice Department — which I try and stay away from, but at some point I won’t — our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia,” Trump said. “There is no collusion with me with Russia, and everyone knows it.”
Other topics covered by Trump during the 30-minute discussion:
Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels
The president lamented the FBI’s raid on his personal lawyer’s office and hotel. Asked about the extent to which Cohen handles his legal affairs, Trump characterized his involvement as “a tiny, tiny little fraction.” But there was a notable exception.
“He represents me, like, with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal,” Trump said, marking the first time he had ever spoken the porn actress’s name publicly. The disclosure also raised further questions about his earlier assertion that he had no knowledge that Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Daniels’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, took note of the president’s appearance, tweeting, “Thank you @foxandfriends for having Mr. Trump on this morning to discuss Michael Cohen and our case. Very informative.”
Dr. Ronny Jackson
The president reacted to the decision by the embattled nominee for Veterans Affairs administrator to withdraw his name from consideration by blaming Democrats. “The Democrats are obstructionists,” Trump said. “It’s horrible what they’re doing.” Jackson formally withdrew his name minutes before the interview started.
On the Republican side, Trump said, are “absolute warriors,” including Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows — and even Diamond and Silk. “They’ve become amazing,” the president said. “These are all warriors.”
Trump directed his ire at Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., who said earlier this week that Jackson became known as “the candy man” inside the White House for handing out prescription drugs “like they were candy.”
“These are all false accusations,” Trump said. “They’re trying to destroy a man. … For Jon Tester to start [to] bring up stuff like ‘candy man,’ and then say, ‘Well, these are just statements that are made.’ There’s no proof of this. And [Jackson] has just a perfect record. Unblemished. His son is a wonderful boy, goes to Annapolis, at the top of his class. One of the finest cadets. For him to be doing this to this man and his family — I think Jon Tester has to have a big price to pay in Montana.”
Trump said he has already circled a new candidate for nominee — someone with the “political” experience Jackson lacked.
Trump saved his strongest ire for former FBI Director James Comey, whom he called a “liar and a leaker” before launching into a rambling broadside about Comey’s contemporaneous memos on his conversations with the president.
“He leaked classified information to get a special counsel and leaked the memos which are classified — the memos were about me, and he didn’t write those memos accurately. He wrote a lot of phony stuff,” Trump said as the “Fox & Friends” hosts looked on in silence. “For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so, a day or two, because I own the Miss Universe pageant, so I went there to watch it because it was near Moscow. So I go to Russia; now, I didn’t go there — everybody knows the logs are there, the planes are there. He said I didn’t stay there a night. Of course I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time, but of course I stayed there. Well, his memo said I left immediately; I never said that. I never said I left immediately.”
Trump also said about Comey: “I did a great thing for the American people by firing him.”
Kanye West, Chance the Rapper and Abraham Lincoln
Trump was asked about the rapper’s unsolicited praise of him on Twitter. “I have known Kanye a little bit. And I get along with Kanye,” the president said. “Kanye looks and he sees black unemployment at the lowest it’s been in the history of our country. He sees Hispanic unemployment at the lowest it’s been in the history of our country. He sees, by the way, female unemployment — women — the lowest it’s been now in almost 19 years. He sees that stuff, and he’s smart and he says, ’You know what? Trump is doing a much better job than the Democrats did.’”
Trump was also asked about Chance the Rapper’s assertion that “black people don’t have to be Democrats.”
“People don’t realize, you know, if you go back to the Civil War, it was the Republicans that really did the thing,” Trump said. “Lincoln was a Republican. I mean, somehow it changed over the years. And I will say I believe it’s changing back.”
Trump began the interview by wishing the first lady — who turned 48 on Thursday — a happy birthday. When asked what he got her for her birthday, the president dodged the question. “Well, I better not get into that because I might get in trouble. Maybe I didn’t get her so much,” Trump said before adding: “I got her a beautiful card.”
David Knowles contributed reporting to this story
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