President makes veiled threats to shut down Robert Mueller's investigation and reveals unimpressive birthday gift for Melania.
Donald Trump was on fire during a rambling, nearly incoherent interview on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning. Actually, it was more like a campaign rally than an interview as Trump spent much of it shouting and railing against his perceived enemies while Brian Kilmeade, Anisley Earhardt and Steve Doocy tried (and mostly failed) to control the conversation.
Perhaps the biggest thing to come out of the conversation was Trump blatantly admitting that Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels deal, in direct contradiction to his previous claims that he knew nothing about it.
The president also admitted to staying the night in Russia, contradicting James Comey's contemporaneous memos and claims that Trump had said on at least two occasions he did not. Trump also hinted that he has a replacement nominee to lead the VA now that Ronny Jackson has withdrawn his name, and threatened to change his stance and get more involved with the Justice Department, which could indicate an interest in shutting down Robert Mueller's investigation.
We've tried to make some sense of it all below, breaking down Trump's admissions, attacks and (dubious?) promises, as well as his response to Kanye West's very public support.
With Ronny Jackson out of the running to head up the Department of Veterans Affairs, Doocy asked if Trump knew who he might nominate next. "I do, actually, but I better not give it. Maybe we'll do it on my next call. I do —- I think we're going to have somebody great. Somebody that's more —- you know, look, the admiral is not a politician which is what I liked, by the way." When pressed if that meant his new nominee was someone from the world of politics, Trump would only say, "Somebody with political capability, yes."
After Trump railed against the Democrats for taking so long to approve his cabinet nominees, Kilmeade asked why Mitch McConnell doesn't just keep them in session virtually non-stop, seven days a week, until it's done. Trump responded, "Well, he should be doing that and I think he will be doing that. And he should be doing that."
Kim Jong-Un Meeting
I'm not like Obama where you go in and you have a Kerry, who's the worst negotiator I've ever seen. He goes in for the Iran deal, he never leaves. He should've left. He should've just left. He would have — could have made a much better deal. But — so it could be that I walk out quickly — with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows? But I can tell you right now they want to meet. They wanted to go to the Olympics. Look, it was very, very nasty with Little Rocket Man and with the buttons — and, you know, my button's bigger than — everybody said this guy's going to get us into nuclear war. Let me tell you. The nuclear war would have happened if you had weak people. We had weak people. This should have been settled long before I came into office. This is a much different ballgame than if they did it five or 10 or 20 years ago. This is a much more dangerous ballgame now. But I will tell you it's going very well.
Mike Pompeo's North Korea Trip
Mike Pompeo did go there. He wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un but he did. He — you know, they arranged, actually while he was there, to say hello. We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting which I'd love to release. If we can I'll do that, actually. It's not a bad idea.
Stormy Daniels Deal
Well, he has a percentage of my overall legal work — a tiny, tiny little fraction. But, Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal he represented me. And, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this which would have been a problem
Overnight in Russia
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 did go there — everybody knows. The locks 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. Well, his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately.
The Democrats are obstructionists. It's horrible what they're doing. They're not approving people. They're taking them out to the maximum 30 hours. That's a lot of time — 30 hours — to interview people that are going to be approved. I mean, they go 30 hours and then people will vote, and it's a disgrace. We have judges that are waiting. Top of the line people. The best people in our country and — And by the way, they're going to be approved but they take them out until the very, very end. And they said over nine years before they get approved because they're using every little trick in the book.
Look, Comey is a leaker, and he's a liar and not only on this stuff. He's been leaking for years. He's probably been using his friend, the so-called professor who now turns out to have FBI clearance, which he never said. He even lied about that because he never said that in Congress. He said he gave it to a friend, and he gave it to a friend to leak classified information. It's all classified. It was totally classified. So illegally — he did an illegal act, and he said it himself in order to get a special counsel against me. So the special counsel — and by the way, and Intelligence Committee and everybody else has found no collusion. There's no collusion with me and the Russians. Nobody's been tougher to Russia than I am.
The only collusion is the collusion with the Democrats and the Russians. You take a look at what's going on there. They wouldn’t even give their server — the DNC, Democratic National Committee, wouldn’t even give its server to the FBI. So what kind of an FBI — they break down doors for Paul Manafort early in the morning. His wife is in bed like at five or six in the morning. And they undo the lock for Michael Cohen early in the morning. And yet, they walk into the DNC, and they won't give them the server. They said we're not giving you the server. Oh, okay, we'll leave. That's not the FBI. That's a fix.
"Fake News" During the Election
what they're trying to do is suppress the vote. Everyone goes home and says you know, I really like Donald Trump but I've watched on the news — and they don’t know it's fake news. I've taught them it's fake news. I've watched on the news that he can't win, so let's go to a movie, darling, and then we'll come home, and we'll watch
NBC Is Unfair
I don’t watch NBC anymore. They're as bad as CNN. I don’t — and by the way, I made them a fortune with “The Apprentice.” Think of that one. I made them a fortune. You would think that these guys would treat me great. I made them a fortune. So they treat me horribly and they treat me falsely. But just one thing. I don’t watch things now. I can put it out of my mind and I never, ever thought that that would be possible. And you know what that does? It keeps you on the ball. It keeps you — you keep your sanity and it works very well.
I'm fighting a battle against a horrible group of deep-seated people — drained the swamp — that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges against me, and they're not bringing up real charges against the other side. So we have a phony deal going on and it's a cloud over my head. And I've been able to do — to really escape that cloud because the message now everyone knows — it's a fix, okay. It's a witch hunt, and they know that, and I've been able to message it.
You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI. It's a disgrace. And 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. There is no collusion with me and Russia, and everyone knows it.
They have this witch hunt going on with people in the Justice Department that shouldn’t be there — they have a witch hunt against the President of the United States going on — I've taken the position — and I don’t have to take this position and maybe I'll change — that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over. It's a total — it's all lies, and it's a horrible thing that's going on.
I'm very disappointed in my Justice Department but because of the fact that it's going under, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved. I may change my mind at some point because what's going on is a disgrace.
All they do is scream 'Death to America!,' Death to America!' And by the way, they're not screaming it so much anymore. They were screaming it with [Obama]. They don't scream it with me. We haven't seen their little boats circling our ships in the ocean lately because they know if they do circle the ships, they're not gonna be there very long."
Kanye West Bromance
I have known Kanye a little bit, and I get along with Kanye. I get along with a lot of people, frankly. But Kanye looks, and he sees black unemployment at the lowest it's been in the history of our country, okay? He sees Hispanic unemployment at the lowest it's been in the history of our country. He sees, by the way, female unemployment — women unemployment the lowest it's been in now 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. And by the way, if they ever got in and started putting back all these rules and regulations where you can't breathe, where businesses go out of business, our country would be in big trouble.
Trump was asked if he got Melania a present, as he was calling in the morning of her birthday. "I better not get into that or I might get into trouble. Maybe I didn't get her so much," he admitted. "I got her a beautiful card. You know, I'm very busy to be running out looking for presents, okay? I got her a beautiful card with beautiful flowers."