Trump goes after Sessions, defends Manafort in interview

Allahpundit hit part of President Trump’s latest interview with Ainsley Earhardt on Fox News last night. That segment dealt with the payments made to the porn star and the Playboy bunny. But when the full interview aired this morning there was plenty more to digest.

The next segment to raise a number of eyebrows came when the President was asked to comment on Manafort’s convictions. Despite the fact that his former campaign manager had been convicted on eight counts and was only one juror short of being taken down on the other ten, Trump expressed his admiration for him. That led to more discussions of Cohen being a “flipper” which made it rather painful to watch.

Speaking to Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt in an exclusive “Fox & Friends” interview, Trump said he had “great respect” for Manafort in terms of “what he’s done… what he’s gone through.”

“You know, he worked for Ronald Reagan for years, he worked for Bob Dole, he worked — I guess his firm worked for [Sen. John] McCain,” the president said. “He worked for many, many people, many many years.”

The President also can’t seem to stop going after his Attorney General. When the subject of Jeff Sessions came up he once again mixed praise and criticism together. He can’t seem to get over the fact that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation.

“Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn’t have done. Or he should have told me,” Trump said. “Even my enemies say that Jeff Sessions should have told you that he was going to recuse himself and then you wouldn’t have put him in. He took the job and then he said I’m going to recuse myself. I said, ‘what kind of man is this?’”

Trump added that the “only reason” he appointed him as attorney general was “because I felt loyalty.”

“He was an original supporter. He was on the campaign. He knows there was no collusion,” Trump said. “And what’s come out of Manafort? No collusion. What’s come out of Michael Cohen? No collusion.”

Much like Allahpundit’s questioning of the strategy of talking about the payments to the women, I fail to see why Trump is handling the Manafort and Cohen situation this way. In reverse order, criticizing Cohen for “flipping” just makes it sound like it would be better if he hid the truth. Whether you believe the President’s version of events regarding Cohen and his various legal issues or not, this is simply self-defeating. We’re not talking about the plot of a Sopranos episode here. Staying silent – or, even worse, lying – to protect your boss isn’t going to sell as a badge of honor with the public and that’s precisely the message this strategy is conveying.

And why is Trump coming to Manafort’s defense? The man was found guilty on multiple counts of tax evasion and money laundering. None of it had anything to do with the President directly so that’s not a ship he needs to go down with. He could have simply expressed his sadness over a man he once trusted having broken the law to enrich himself and moved on. But put in context with his comments about Cohen, it’s not hard for people to read into this interview and come away thinking that Manafort could have “flipped” also but remained loyal.

There was one other segment which came off at least a bit better. Earhardt asked Trump what he thinks will happen if the Democrats take back control of Congress next January and if he believes they’ll try to impeach him. The President decided to issue a warning, saying that the markets would crash if that happened. Watch this short segment.

President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt, warned that the “market would crash” if he’s ever impeached while questioning why Democrats would even consider that course in the future.

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job,” Trump said, in the interview which aired Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”

The president argued that he’s done a great job in office, despite the critical coverage in connection with the Cohen case and other controversies.

Further, he warned, “If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see—you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

The president touted his economic accomplishments, claiming that the economy was going to be “down” if he hadn’t been elected.

There’s at least an element of truth to that. Typically, too much upheaval in the government tends to depress the markets. And I’m fairly sure that if we’d wound up with President Hillary Clinton we wouldn’t have gotten the tax reform package which has bolstered the market and driven down unemployment. But many of the Democrats still seem wary about using the I word, even though their base is clamoring for it. If they overplay their hand on that it could seriously backfire on them when the effort inevitably fails in the Senate.

Still, if this is the approach the President has settled on for a strategy, perhaps he should stop giving interviews for a little while. That one really didn’t go well at all.