Thursday Reads: Trump Has Major Meltdown on Fox and Friends

Good Morning!!

The pressure is building on Trump. This morning he had a major meltdown on Fox and Friends. It was so bad that the hosts couldn’t hide their embarrassment and they finally had to cut off the call. Trump publicly accused James Comey and Andrew McCabe of committing crimes and for the first time he said the words “Stormy Daniels” and admitted that Michael Cohen was representing him (Trump) in Cohen’s dealings with Daniels. He also admitted that he spent the night in Moscow in 2013, despite what he told Comey. Finally, he said that he wasn’t going to keep his hands off the DOJ much longer.

Yahoo News: Trump sounds off on Comey, Cohen, Kanye and more in freewheeling ‘Fox and Friends’ interview.

President Trump called into his favorite morning show for a wide-ranging interview during which an animated — and, at times, angry — Trump 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.”

On Michael Cohen:

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’ name publicly. The disclosure also raised further questions about his earlier assertion that he had no knowledge that Cohen paid the porn actress $130,000 in hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Comey:

“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 of Comey: “I did a great thing for the American people by firing him.”

Here’s his rant on McCabe.

I hope McCabe’s lawyer was listening, because I think he has a case for defamation.

Think Progress: Trump made 2 costly legal errors during unhinged Fox & Friends interview.

First, Trump claimed that Cohen — his longtime personal lawyer and fixer — only represented him in “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his overall legal work….

Trump’s comments come a day after a lawyer representing him told a federal judge that Trump himself “is ready to help recommend what materials seized from his personal attorney that relate to him should be withheld from federal investigators because of attorney-client privilege,” according to the Associated Press.

The day after the raid on his longtime personal attorney, Trump suggested that it shouldn’t even have happened because of attorney-client privilege.

But Trump’s claim that Cohen only deals with “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work will likely complicate his lawyers’ efforts to shield seized documents from federal investigators in prosecutors.

The second legal goof:

Trump acknowledged during the Fox & Friends interview that Cohen did represent him during his dealings with Daniels. Trump recently claimed he had no knowledge of the payment at the time.

“Michael would represent me and represent me on some things,” Trump said. “He represented me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me. He represented me and you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong.”

But Cohen’s story about the secret Daniels hush payment — which may have been illegal if it was meant to help Trump’s campaign — is that he made it from his personal funds, without Trump being looped in at all. Trump’s acknowledgement that Cohen “represented me” in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal” undermines the repeated public claims of his own lawyer.

Read more details at the link above. Also see this piece at The Guardian: Trump admits Michael Cohen was his lawyer in Stormy Daniels matter.

You can watch a long clip from the interview at this Business Insider link. If you can’t stand to listen to Trump’s voice, at least watch it with the sound muted to see the embarrassed looks on the faces of the Fox hosts.

Here’s what Trump whisperer Maggie Haberman had to say about Trump’s meltdown.

And here we go. The government’s attorneys quoted Trump’s Fox and Friends rant in their filing for the court hearing in the Michael Cohen case today at noon.

Click on that link to read the entire document.

One more related story from The New York Times: Michael Cohen to Take Fifth Amendment in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit.

Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, will invoke his Fifth Amendment right in a lawsuit filed against the president by Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star better known as Stormy Daniels.

Mr. Cohen’s decision, disclosed Wednesday in a court filing in California, where the suit was filed, came a day before a federal judge in Manhattan was set to hold a hearing regarding materials seized from Mr. Cohen during an F.B.I. raid earlier this month.

Mr. Cohen cited the Manhattan investigation in his filing on Wednesday, saying that, if called as a witness in Ms. Clifford’s lawsuit, “I will assert my 5th Amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.” [….]

Citing the Fifth Amendment in the Clifford case allows Mr. Cohen to avoid being deposed and revealing sensitive information in the more important criminal investigation.

In Trump “I know the best people” news, The White House has withdrawn the nomination of Ronny Jackson to run the VA. The Washington Post:

The White House withdrew the nomination of Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician, to lead the Veterans Affairs Department on Thursday after lawmakers went public with a torrent of accusations leveled against him by nearly two dozen current and former colleagues from the White House medical staff.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Dr. Jackson announced that he was withdrawing his name for consideration to be the secretary of Veteran Affairs.

“Unfortunately, because of how Washington works, these false allegations have become a distraction for this president and the important issue we must be addressing — how we give the best care to our nation’s heroes,” Dr. Jackson said in a statement provided by the White House press office.

He said that the charges against him were “completely false and fabricated.”

Within minutes of the withdrawal, President Trump lamented the loss of his nomination, and said that Senator Jon Tester of Montana, the top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, would “have a big price to pay” for undercutting Dr. Jackson.

Happening right now: Scott Pruitt is testifying before Congress. He faces two hearings today.

Vox: Congress is grilling Scott Pruitt about his ethical breaches.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will face a double whammy of hearings on Capitol Hill Thursday that could make or break his career at the EPA. You can watch the C-SPAN livestream here.

The hearings were originally intended to give Pruitt the chance to pitch his agency’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year. But members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, including some Republicans, are expected to grill Pruitt over his growing list of alleged ethical lapses.

A tsunami of accusations of improper dealings has emerged since Pruitt’s last trip to the Hill in January, from using sirens to get to dinner reservations to a sweetheart condo deal with a lobbyist to ousting staffers who questioned his luxury travel. These allegations have led to investigations from Congress, the White House, and government watchdogs. The Government Accountability Office already found that the $43,000 phone booth in Pruitt’s office broke the law.

And though his prepared statement for the Energy and Commerce Committee completely ignores the controversies around him, the New York Times reported that Pruitt is preparing for a confrontation with a set of talking points on his long list of scandals. He will argue, among other things, that he flew first class based on recommendations from his security staff and that he wasn’t involved in the decision to bypass the White House to get massive raises for two close aides.NB

Meanwhile, EPA employees protested outside the agency’s headquarters on Wednesday, decrying budget cuts alongside activists and lawmakers who want to “Boot Pruitt” out of office.

NBC News’ First Read suggests that Trump’s biggest problem might be the competency question.

This morning, President Trump’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs withdrew his nomination after new allegations against him surfaced. Today, Congress is expected to grillthe president’s EPA administrator over alleged ethical lapses. And the president’s personal lawyer and fixer is pleading the Fifth Amendment.

 Yes, it’s chaos and controversy, which we’ve constantly chronicled here. But it’s also a matter of competency. According to this month’s NBC/WSJ poll, a majority of Americans — 56 percent — said that Trump’s administration isn’t competent, including 39 percent who said it isn’t competent at all. By contrast, 43 percent said it was competent, including 16 percent who said “very competent.”

To put those numbers into perspective, 50 percent of American said Barack Obama’s administration was competent in June 2014 (so after the Obamacare website crash during his second term), and 53 percent said George W. Bush’s administration was competent in March 2006 (after Hurricane Katrina).

So for all the potential dangers to Trump’s presidency — the Russia investigation, historically low approval ratings, Democrats possibly winning the House (and Senate) in November — the biggest could very well be the competency question.

Indeed, majorities of women (61 percent), seniors (58 percent), millennials (57 percent), independents (57 percent) and men (51 percent) said the Trump administration wasn’t too competent or not competent at all. Even whites were split down the middle — 50-50.

That’s a big problem.

That’s all I have for you this morning. I know I’ve only touched on a small part of what’s happening. So . . . what stories are you following today?

34 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Trump Has Major Meltdown on Fox and Friends”

  1. dakinikat says:

    So, I don’t really get this at all. He says he’s got nothing to do with something and then goes on TV and basically admits to commiting a crime which he says really isn’t a crime. How can any one be this stupid and oblivious let alone be POTUS? WTF is wrong with Republicans? They really hate our country that much they’d do this to us?

  2. roofingbird says:

    I’m guessing the Macron seduction accolades weren’t quite what he hoped.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Is that for real? I doubt it.

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    This is what we have come to under this lying S.O.B.

    Numerous investigations. Corruption run rampant. The distinct possibility of collusion with a hostile adversary. A strip down of vital agencies. Treason. Incompetency at every level of government. Family using the Oval Office to enrich themselves. A “leader” shouting invective on “enemies”. Ignoring the Russian interference of an election. Praise spouted in favor of murderers and dictators. Zero vetting of nominees. A horse’s ass ignorant of law and government functioning. Strippers and porn stars invading the Oval Office. A daily dose of multiple lies pouring forth from the mouth and empty head of the POTUS.

    This unstable and stupid man is being protected by the congressional GOP. They stand aside while this fool wrecks democracy and decency. His only function is the dismantling of any piece of paper that contains the name Obama. Vindictiveness is his focus. He would rather ruin the economy, the environment, the government, our place in the world merely out of spite.

    We wake up every morning, braced as to what comes next. This man’s ignorance is profound. He cannot keep his lies straight. His constant lying is making us less safe yet there is no one coming forward to rein him in. He is much like a toddler let loose without any barriers. He is accountable to no one.

    This is what you get when ignorance is rewarded. When lies can be swept away so easily. When competence is disguised by celebrity rather then earned. When experience is outwitted by scorn.

    This where we are, what we have become. It is impossible for me to accept that 40% of the population still supports this fool. That just can’t be.

    Because if so we are on the actual road to ruination where this behavior has its defenders. It just cannot be.

  6. Mary Luke says:

    A meltdown does not equal legal incompetence. In fact just last night Comey told a CNN town meeting that based on his conversations with Trump, Comey believes Trump is mentally fit, but morally unfit because he lies.

    It’s important that we don’t let Trump play us. He is nowhere near the legal definition of incapacity. If it is proven that he committed a crime he should be held accountable.

    • NW Luna says:

      Legal competence is such a low bar that it’s hard not to pass it. As example, persons with dementia to the extent that they aren’t medically considered capable to make moderate or major decisions, or capable of giving informed consent to even minor procedures, are still totally competent by legal definition.

      An emotional meltdown on TV does, however, show emotional immaturity and deep unsuitability to be the chief executive of a country.

    • NW Luna says:

      The “competence” question in the NBC News excerpt above seems to be about on-the-job competence, as in if Trump or any of his picks are qualified to perform the responsibilities of their jobs.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Frankly, I don’t accept James Comey as an expert on Trump’s physical or psychological health. But I don’t think mental unfitness is why people were alarmed by the meltdown. Trump is clearly overwhelmed by a job he was in no way prepared for. He also seems to have almost no control over his emotions.

      Trump’s pathological lying is a characteristic of his all-encompassing narcissism.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    The Senate approved Pompeo as SOS, per MSNBC.

  8. dakinikat says:

    It is one of the inevitable characteristics of politics that when you work for a politician, you end up sharing the blame for their misdeeds, fairly or not. I’m sure there were many ethical people who worked for President Richard Nixon and had nothing to do with Watergate, but after it was over, “Former Nixon aide” wasn’t something you wanted on your résumé.

    But there may be no precedent for the degree of ruined reputations that President Trump is leaving in his wake. Think about it: Is there a single Trump aide or official who will leave the service of this president with their reputation enhanced, or at least not diminished?

    Everything he touches turns to shit …

  9. dakinikat says:

    Anchors grew visibly uncomfortable as they listened to the president undermine his own legal defense.

    • dakinikat says:

      He may also have undermined his case in more roundabout ways: at another point, he referred to his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen as having done a “tiny, tiny little fraction of my legal work”—an apparent attempt to distance himself from Cohen, who he admitted represented him in “this crazy Stormy Daniels deal.” Michael Avenatti, Daniels’s lawyer, immediately called the admission a “gift from the heavens” and “hugely damaging”: not only did Trump’s statement suggest he was aware that Cohen had paid hush money to Daniels, it also undercut Cohen’s argument that his communications with Trump, recently seized by the F.B.I., are protected by attorney-client privilege.

  10. dakinikat says:

    Louisiana ‘islanders’ find a new home beyond the water

    Standing in the long grass on the land where he was born, with the sea now lapping just meters away, Chief Albert Naquin remembers Isle de Jean Charles as a wonderful place to grow up.

    “It’s like night and day – we were totally self-sufficient here. Now you have to go off the island to survive,” he said of his community in southeast Louisiana – one that is being dispersed by the encroaching waves of the Gulf of Mexico.

    Since the 1950s, the small strip of land – once 11 miles (18 km) by 5 miles (8 km) – has lost 98 percent of its mass, according to the U.S. Land Remote Sensing Program. It is linked to the mainland by a road flanked by water on either side.

    The fear is that the “island”, as it is known, could wash away in the next big storm.

  11. dakinikat says:

    Bill Cosby found guilty of sexual assault!

    Case revolved around incident involving a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home — NORRISTOWN, Pa.—A jury Thursday found entertainer Bill Cosby guilty of sexually assaulting a woman at his home in 2004, after giving her a drug that incapacitated her.

  12. roofingbird says:

    An eventfully positive day, except for the the fact that the CIA boss is taking over the SOS. I can’t help but think one of the reasons he appointed Pompeo was to muddy the Benghazi waters and create more HRC chaos.I hope all the pertainant documents are safe.

  13. Jslat says:

    So I’m enjoying NHK World Newsline’s live coverage of the Kim and Moon summit meeting in Korea. NHK World has been my decompression chamber this past year. So great to view this Japanese news channel and escape the T-Rump centric US media!

  14. Minkoff Minx says:

    Does this mean that when Deal stopped that tax cut to Delta…it also fucked with the school board of Clayton County? Which shares that Delta fuel tax cut… and now, the FAA is holding the kids hostage trying to recoup the tax cut money?

    I’m I reading this right?