President Donald Trump spoke with Fox Information host Sean Hannity for 45 minutes Thursday night about a lot of matters, together with the practically two-year lengthy Mueller probe and his marketing campaign pledge to construct a wall alongside the U.S.-Mexico border.
A lot of the interview was an assortment of lies and deceptive speaking factors. Hannity, who reportedly chats with Trump nightly on the cellphone, lobbed a number of softballs to the president, a few of them reinforcing the “deep state” conspiracy theories he often discusses on his present. Trump, in flip, repeated a lot of his favourite falsehoods.
No ties to Russia
Trump claimed that the members of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s crew, which was tasked with investigating Russian meddling within the 2016 election and allegations of presidential obstruction, “have been going hog wild to search out one thing in regards to the administration which clearly wasn’t there.”
“We’ve nothing to do with Russia besides that we have now been more durable on Russia than any administration in 50 years,” he mentioned Thursday.
That declare ignores the innumerable connections between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia, as outlined in Mueller’s last report, together with the June 2016 Trump Tower assembly, which the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., took particularly as a result of he believed a Russian agent would offer damaging details about his father’s marketing campaign rival Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s declare that he has been “more durable on Russia” than different administrations — a favourite speaking level he has repeated prior to now — additionally comes up brief. Trump has overtly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who maintains that Russia didn’t intervene within the 2016 election, and has downplayed each Putin’s determination to annex Crimea and his brutal and violent crackdowns on the press and political dissidents.
Trump’s personal advisers — together with Michael Flynn, who pleaded responsible to mendacity to investigators about his communications with Russian officers in December 2017 — have additionally labored to melt sanctions and punishment levied towards Russia by the Obama administration.
The Mueller investigation was a “coup”
Not less than three completely different occasions through the interview, Trump insisted that the Mueller investigation constituted an tried coup, a well-liked chorus he has evoked prior to now.
“This was a coup. This was an tried overthrow of america authorities,” he mentioned at one level. “This was an overthrow and it’s a disgraceful factor. I believe it’s far greater than Watergate. I believe it’s presumably the largest scandal in political historical past on this nation.”
As ThinkProgress beforehand famous, a “coup” is outlined as a sudden, violent, unlawful energy seize that always includes the navy. A authorized, licensed investigation into attainable misdeeds by the president and his associates doesn’t represent a coup.
Spying on marketing campaign
Trump on Thursday as soon as extra accused Justice officers of “spying” on his marketing campaign, an obvious reference to a FISA warrant used to surveil former overseas coverage adviser Carter Web page over his ties to Russia. “The lawyer common mentioned it higher than anyone the opposite day when he was requested: ‘Sure, I believe they have been spying on the Trump marketing campaign.’ You possibly can’t say it any higher than that. And I believe so, too.”
There isn’t any proof to substantiate these claims. The time period “spying” suggests a nefarious intent; surveillance of Web page was warranted and permitted by a FISA court docket decide.
Trump has echoed this declare prior to now. In March 2017, the president claimed with out proof that President Barack Obama wiretapped the telephones in Trump Tower through the marketing campaign, calling his predecessor a “unhealthy (or sick) man.”
“That is McCarthyism!” he tweeted on the time.
Each Comey and then-NSA Director Mike Rogers testified to Congress later that month that this was false, saying there was “no info that assist[ed] these tweets.”
Peter Strzok and Lisa Web page
Hannity and Trump devoted a big period of time Thursday night time to discussing former FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Web page, former members of Mueller’s crew. Previous to Trump’s election victory, the 2 had expressed in textual content messages to one another that they have been involved about him successful, with Strzok writing “we’ll cease him.”
Strzok later testified that he had not been referring to any form of official FBI motion, however was remarking “off the cuff.”
Trump on Thursday condemned each Strzok and Web page for these conversations.
“These are sick, sick folks,” he mentioned. He additionally repeatedly referred to the “insurance coverage coverage” he claimed the pair had in case Trump gained the election, a reference to a message Strzok despatched to Web page in August 2016.
That timing of that message, nevertheless, The Washington Put up famous, is essential to understanding its contents: Round that point, the FBI had launched its official investigation into allegations of legal coordination between the Trump marketing campaign and Russia. The pair have mentioned the “insurance coverage coverage” remark was a reference to how forcefully the FBI ought to examine, if it was decided Trump was being managed by the Russians.
Fox Information and different conservative retailers have tried to make hay of the messages between Strzok and Web page to counsel there was irregular conduct within the investigation. Nevertheless, Justice Division Inspector Common Michael Horowitz has investigated the messages himself and whereas he mentioned in a report final summer time that the 2 “introduced discredit to themselves,” neither have been politically motivated to cease Trump.
“13 indignant Democrats”
Although the quantity fluctuates, Trump usually objects to the “indignant Democrats” who made up Mueller’s investigative crew. On Thursday, he repeated that declare.
“It was as I name them, 13 indignant Democrats. They have been supplanted by 5 extra, 5 extra have been added. And you bought as much as 18, 19, 20 — they’re all Democrats a lot of them made main contributions to the Hillary Clinton marketing campaign,” he mentioned Thursday. “[They’re] unhealthy, unhealthy folks. No pals of Trump.”
Mueller himself, nevertheless, is a Republican, as is Rod Rosenstein, the deputy lawyer common who appointed him. Whereas it’s true a number of members of Mueller’s crew have been registered as Democrats and some gave some donations to Democratic candidates, there isn’t any proof this constituted any bias within the investigation. Trump invented the “indignant” declare himself.
Talking Friday morning, Trump explicitly lumped Mueller into his regular speaking level. “We had 18 people who have been Trump haters. That features Mr. Mueller,” he claimed. “He was a Trump hater.”
Papadopoulos and Web page
Whereas each George Papadopoulos and Carter Web page have been each members of the Trump marketing campaign in 2016, the president has repeatedly urged he didn’t know them. On Thursday, he re-upped that declare.
“As quickly as folks noticed their title[s] — although I didn’t meet Carter Web page — and Papadopoulos, I really sat at a desk with him for about 15 minutes and that was it. I by no means spoke to him or something,” he mentioned.
Trump is contradicted by his personal previous feedback. In an interview with the Put up through the marketing campaign, Trump listed each Web page and Papadopoulos as individuals who can be becoming a member of his overseas coverage crew, particularly calling Papadopoulos “a wonderful man.”
Papadopoulos would later plead responsible to creating false statements to the FBI.
Trump as soon as once more bragged in regards to the progress of the wall he’s devoted to constructing alongside the southern border. “We’re constructing many sections of wall proper now that’s underneath building proper now,” he mentioned. “And I intend to have by the tip of subsequent yr over 400 miles of wall. We’ve renovated lots of wall already.”
He claimed that the partitions are “extra stunning and truly stronger” than earlier border obstacles.
Whereas he’s little doubt trying to enchantment to his base by highlighting his progress on one among his largest marketing campaign guarantees, Trump doesn’t really deserve a lot credit score for the work that’s been executed. Trump has to this point largely changed present fencing, and the “new” border wall part accomplished in California final yr had really been deliberate all through a lot of the Obama administration.
“Most clear president”
One in all Trump’s extra spectacular claims on Thursday was his suggestion that he’s “probably the most clear president in historical past.” That is straight contradicted by his current selections to flout the regulation by refusing to show over his tax returns or to permit numerous members of his administration to adjust to subpoenas from the Home of Representatives.
In truth, the Trump administration has been one of many least clear administrations, from hiding White Home customer logs to repeatedly attacking the press to keep away from its scrutiny. The Daylight Basis has described it as “a secretive administration, allergic to transparency, shadowed by international conflicts of curiosity, [and] hostile to the important position journalism performs in a democracy.”