Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Times Interview - So Rich

At first, I declined to read this article with additional excerpts from Trump's New York Times ("Fake News", right?) interview because the original article sent me into shock. But, I recovered, and went back in.  (It gets better and better with each five minutes, until at last, your mind is thoroughly boggled.)
But I think we are going to do O.K. I think we are going to see. I mean, one of my ideas was repeal. But I certainly rather would get repeal and replace, because the last thing I want to do is start working tomorrow morning on replace.

Don't make HIIM work, for Pete's sake. That's not why he ran for office.
It’s a very narrow path, winding this way. You think you have it, and then you lose four on the other side because you gave. It is a brutal process. And it was for Democrats, in all fairness.

I mean, you think of Hillary Clinton, and you look, she went eight years — very capable — went eight years as the first lady, and could not get health care. So this is not an easy crack.
He spent the whole campaign telling us how INcompetent Hillary Clinton is. Now, when he's losing his signature campaign promise, suddenly she's capable, which just goes to show you he's losing because it's "not an easy crack." (No, I will not make a crack about his crack being easy.)
The one thing I’ll say about myself, so, Obama was in there for eight years and got Obamacare. Hillary Clinton was in there eight years and they never got Hillarycare, whatever they called it at the time. I am not in here six months, and they’ll say, “Trump hasn’t fulfilled his agenda.” I say to myself, wait a minute, I’m only here a very short period of time compared to Obama.
No, this is not the "one thing" he'll say about himself. But it is way up there in importance. How does he measure up to Obama? And Hillary. He's absolutely obsessed with those two.

But wait....
TRUMP: How long did it take to get Obamacare?

BAKER: March, March 2010.

TRUMP: So he was there for more than a year.

HABERMAN: Fourteen months.

TRUMP: And I’m here less than six months, so, ah, you know. Something to think about.
Oh, so not eight years, eh? Oh well, I've still got eight months to win THAT competition.
BAKER: We wrote the same stories, though, in August of 2009. “Obama can’t get it.”

SCHMIDT: It died several times.

HABERMAN: Several times.

TRUMP: Well, it was a tough one. That was a very tough one.


HABERMAN: Am I wrong in thinking — I’ve talked to you a bunch of times about this over the last couple years, but you are generally of the view that people should have health care, right? I mean, I think that you come at it from the view of …

TRUMP: Yes, yes. [garbled]


AKER: Did the senators want to try again?

TRUMP: I think so. We had a great meeting. Was I late?


TRUMP: It was a great meeting. We had 51 show up, other than John.

BAKER: Senator McCain.

TRUMP: That’s a lot. Normally when they call for a meeting, you have like 20.
I have the best numbers.

A helpful note here: This interview took place before McConnell gave up and pulled the Trumpcare bill from being voted on.
TRUMP: And then they’ll vote on this, and we’ll see. We have some meetings scheduled today. I think we have six people who are really sort of O.K. They are all good people. We don’t have bad people. I know the bad people. Believe me, do I know bad people.
Oh, we believe that if we believe nothing else about you, Sir.
TRUMP: This health care is a tough deal. I said it from the beginning. No. 1, you know, a lot of the papers were saying — actually, these guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care. [garbled]
Somebody should have asked him to enlighten us.
TRUMP: I hope we don’t have any grandstanders. I don’t think we do.



This is a very tough time for them, in a sense, because of the importance. And I believe that it’s [garbled], that makes it a lot easier. It’s a mess.
And so are you, Sir. So are you. Witness:
TRUMP: I have had the best reviews on foreign land. So I go to Poland and make a speech. Enemies of mine in the media, enemies of mine are saying it was the greatest speech ever made on foreign soil by a president. I’m saying, man, they cover [garbled]. You saw the reviews I got on that speech. Poland was beautiful and wonderful, and the reception was incredible.

And then, went to France the following week, because it was the 100th year. [inaudible] The Paris Accord — I wasn’t going to get along with France for a little while, because people forget, because it is a very unfair agreement to us. China doesn’t get [garbled] until 2030. Russia goes back to 1994 as a standard — a much, much lower standard. India has things that are [garbled]. I want to do the same thing as everyone else. We can’t do that? We can’t do that? That’s O.K. Let me get out. Frankly, the people that like me, love that I got out.

After that, it was fairly surprising. He [President Emmanuel Macron of France] called me and said, “I’d love to have you there and honor you in France,” having to do with Bastille Day. Plus, it’s the 100th year of the First World War. That’s big.
Christ what a braggart. I'm pretty sure Macron didn't say he'd love to honor Trump in France.  I did read that he wanted to honor the American forces who helped France during the Big War.
TRUMP: He’s a great guy. Smart. Strong. Loves holding my hand.

HABERMAN: I’ve noticed.

TRUMP: People don’t realize he loves holding my hand. And that’s good, as far as that goes.


TRUMP: I mean, really. He’s a very good person. And a tough guy, but look, he has to be. I think he is going to be a terrific president of France. But he does love holding my hand.


TRUMP: But the Bastille Day parade was — now that was a super-duper — O.K. I mean, that was very much more than normal. They must have had 200 planes over our heads. Normally you have the planes and that’s it, like the Super Bowl parade. And everyone goes crazy, and that’s it. That happened for — and you know what else that was nice? It was limited. You know, it was two hours, and the parade ended. It didn’t go a whole day. They didn’t go crazy. You don’t want to leave, but you have to. Or you want to leave, really.


People were surprised because I’d just come back from Hamburg. So I was back for three days, and then I had to go out again. But when he [Mr. Macron] invited me, he and I have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with Merkel [Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany]. Do you know what happened with Merkel? So I am sitting in the chair. We’d been sitting there for two hours. So it’s not like, “Nice to see ya.” So the press comes in. So I guess someone screamed out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand!” I didn’t even hear. So I didn’t shake her hand, because I’d been with her for so long. I’d been with her for a long period of time. So I didn’t shake her — the next day, “Trump refused to shake…” [garbled]


People were surprised because I’d just come back from Hamburg. So I was back for three days, and then I had to go out again. But when he [Mr. Macron] invited me, he and I have a very good relationship. I have a very good relationship with Merkel [Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany]. Do you know what happened with Merkel? So I am sitting in the chair. We’d been sitting there for two hours. So it’s not like, “Nice to see ya.” So the press comes in. So I guess someone screamed out, “Shake her hand, shake her hand!” I didn’t even hear. So I didn’t shake her hand, because I’d been with her for so long. I’d been with her for a long period of time. So I didn’t shake her — the next day, “Trump refused to shake…” [garbled]
Disparate thoughts, like hummingbirds, buzz by in his brain and distract him. He is most certainly the most addle-brained president we've had. Even beyond Reagan who everybody knew was in latter stages of Alzheimer's.
TRUMP: It’s been a long time. Nothing changes. Wait till you see what we’re going to do on trade.

HABERMAN: Sounds like it’s going to be very interesting.

TRUMP: Much more interesting than anybody would understand.

OK? OK? Not, "Try us"? "Tell us just ONE thing"?
BAKER: Will you go to Britain? Are you going to make a state visit to Britain? Are you going to be able to do that?

TRUMP: As to Britain?

BAKER: Yeah.

HABERMAN: Will you go there?


TRUMP: Ah, they’ve asked me. What was interesting — so, when Macron asked, I said: “Do you think it’s a good thing for me to go to Paris? I just ended the Paris Accord last week. Is this a good thing?” He said, “They love you in France.” I said, “O.K., I just don’t want to hurt you.”
Sure. Sure. We believe you.  They love you in France.  You don't want to do anything to hurt Macron.

Didn't want to talk about Britain, did he? LOL
TRUMP: We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower, and the bottom of the Eiffel Tower looked like they could have never had a bigger celebration ever in the history of the Eiffel Tower. I mean, there were thousands and thousands of people, ’cause they heard we were having dinner.
OMG. This baby is pathetic. I wish somebody had said, "As many as were at your inauguration?"
TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? [garbled]
And we thought John McCain had lost his marbles in the Comey hearing. (Well, he HAD.)

"He had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death." A 3rd grader's book report. LOfuckingL. Extracurricular activities.
TRUMP: Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though.
No extracurricular activities for Hitler?

Go ahead, finish the book report.
Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.


But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. [crosstalk] It’s pretty amazing.

So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.
SCHMIDT: The markets are doing great.

TRUMP: They’re going to really go up if we do what we’re doing. I mean, cut regulations tremendously. Sometimes — you know, one thing they hadn’t thought about at The Times, where they said I didn’t really cut regulations as much. I heard that because I said — it could have been a little slip-up in terms of what I said — I meant, for the time in office, five months and couple of weeks, I think I’ve done more than anyone else. They may have taken it as more than anyone else, period.


But I’m talking about for my time. I heard that Harry Truman was first, and then we beat him.
By the way, I want regulations, but, you know, some of the — you have to get nine different regulations, and you could never do anything. I’ve given the farmers back their farms. I’ve given the builders back their land to build houses and to build other things.

Trump's mind is so blown he can now settle in to blow yours.
The energy stuff is going really well. We’re going to be an exporter — we already are an exporter of energy. We’re doing well. I mean, the banks, you look at rules and regulations, you look at Dodd-Frank, Dodd-Frank is going to be, you know, modified, and again, I want rules and regulations. But you don’t want to choke, right? People can’t get loans to buy a pizza parlor, to buy a — you know, I saw out on the trail — people say, Mr. Trump, we’ve dealt with banks, my own bank, and they can’t loan me anymore. I’ve never had a bad day with a bank. You know? So we’ll put — yeah, because of statutory [garbled], they can’t loan to that kind of a business. And they’re good businesses to loan to. So I think we’ve — I think we’re set to really go [garbled].
[Garbled] is just as understandable as the rest of that.
TRUMP: Well, Hillary did the reset. Somebody was saying today, and then I read, where Hillary Clinton was dying to get back with Russia. Her husband made a speech, got half a million bucks while she was secretary of state. She did the uranium deal, which is a horrible thing, while she was secretary of state, and got a lot of money.


TRUMP: She was opposing sanctions. She was totally opposed to any sanctions for Russia.

BAKER: When was that?

HABERMAN: Do you remember when that was? I don’t remember that.

TRUMP: I just saw it. I just saw it. She was opposed to sanctions, strongly opposed to sanctions on Russia.


HABERMAN: This is post-Crimea, I’m assuming? Is that what we would be talking about?

TRUMP: I don’t really know. … But in that time. And don’t forget, Crimea was given away during Obama. Not during Trump. In fact, I was on one of the shows, I said they’re exactly right, they didn’t have it as it exactly. But he was — this — Crimea was gone during the Obama administration, and he gave, he allowed it to get away. You know, he can talk tough all he wants, in the meantime he talked tough to North Korea. And he didn’t actually. He didn’t talk tough to North Korea. You know, we have a big problem with North Korea. Big. Big, big.
Hummingbirds.  A flock.
You look at all of the things, you look at the line in the sand. The red line in the sand in Syria. He didn’t do the shot. I did the shot. Had he done that shot, he wouldn’t have had — had he done something dramatic, because if you remember, they had a tremendous gas attack after he made that statement. Much bigger than the one they had with me.
Me. Me. Me. I'm better than anybody in the whole wide world. I'm a two-year-old.  Gas attack.
BAKER: Given what’s happened since then, though, was it a political mistake to have fired [James Comey], given what’s happened?

TRUMP: I think I did a great thing for the American people.


Now, perhaps I would have fired Comey anyway, and it certainly didn’t hurt to have the letter, O.K. But he gives me a very strong letter, and now he’s involved in the case. Well, that’s a conflict of interest. Do you know how many conflicts of interests there are? But then, then Comey also says that he did something in order to get the special prose— special counsel. He leaked. The reason he leaked. So, he illegally leaked.


TRUMP: So think of this. Mike. He illegally leaks, and everyone thinks it is illegal, and by the way, it looks like it’s classified and all that stuff. So he got — not a smart guy — he got tricked into that, because they didn’t even ask him that question. They asked him another question, O.K.?
Oh, my, Dear. You are mixing up Comey and Sessions. Sessions is the one who answered a question he wasn't asked and got himself into trouble.

Is Trump perpetrating this lie on purpose, or has he really gotten the two mixed up? Surely the interviewers know. Why didn't they correct him?

Not to mention, "everyone" doesn't think Comey illegally leaked anything at all. The people who actually understand what happened know he didn't "leak" anything, legally or illegally. You might quibble whether it was leaking, but you can't claim it was illegal. This is stuck in Trump's brain and won't wash out. He should probably stop repeating it though. When does it become libel or slander?

P.S.  He's at least got it together enough to realize he was about to say the word "prosecutor" and changed it to "counsel".  Ha!
TRUMP: He said I said “hope” — “I hope you can treat Flynn good” or something like that. I didn’t say anything.

But even if he did — like I said at the news conference on the, you know, Rose Garden — even if I did, that’s not — other people go a step further. I could have ended that whole thing just by saying — they say it can’t be obstruction because you can say: “It’s ended. It’s over. Period.”
I can't say I'm sure I understand what he's saying here. Is he saying he could have simply ordered Comey to end the investigation? Does he believe that wouldn't have led to an obstruction investigation? Is he saying he could order an obstruction investigation to stop?

At any rate, I love this logic: "He said I said, which I didn't, but if I DID, then..." Why were the Times journalists not in hysterics by this point? They're professionals, apparently.
BAKER: Did you shoo other people out of the room when you talked to Comey?

TRUMP: No, no.

BAKER: That time [inaudible] [Michael T.] Flynn —

TRUMP: No. That was the other thing. I told people to get out of the room. Why would I do that?

SCHMIDT: Did you actually have a one-on-one with Comey then?

TRUMP: Not much. Not even that I remember. He was sitting, and I don’t remember even talking to him about any of this stuff. He said I asked people to go. Look, you look at his testimony. His testimony is loaded up with lies, O.K.? But people didn’t — we had a couple people that said — Hi baby, how are you?

ARABELLA KUSHNER: [enters room] Hi, Grandpa.

TRUMP: My granddaughter Arabella, who speaks — say hello to them in Chinese.

KUSHNER: Ni hao.


TRUMP: This is Ivanka. You know Ivanka.

IVANKA TRUMP: [from doorway] Hi, how are you? See you later, just wanted to come say hi.
There ARE secret tapes going - or at least secret cameras. Ivanka just pops down in the middle of an interview to let her kid say hello? No. No. And No. They were sent in to interrupt the Comey shit Trump was spewing, because he was too close to putting his ass in a sling regarding the obstruction investigation.  In fact, the other people who were in the room and were asked to leave, corroborated Comey's statement in that regard.
TRUMP: She’s great. She speaks fluent Chinese. She’s amazing.

BAKER: That’s very impressive.

TRUMP: She spoke with President Xi [Jinping of China]. Honey? Can you say a few words in Chinese? Say, like, “I love you, Grandpa” —

KUSHNER: Wo ai ni, Grandpa.

BAKER: That’s great.

TRUMP: She’s unbelievable, huh?
LOL. She's learned to say "hello" and "I love you, Grandpa" on cue. Fluent.
TRUMP: Good, smart genes.
Of course.

And cue Grandpa to wrap up the interview with some scripted lines.
TRUMP: Good, smart genes.


TRUMP: So the bottom line is this. The country’s doing well. We are, we are moving forward with a lot of great things. The unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 16 years. The stock market is the highest it’s ever been. It’s up almost 20 percent since I took office. And we’re working hard on health care. Um, the Russian investigation — it’s not an investigation, it’s not on me — you know, they’re looking at a lot of things.
But, damn the Times....
HABERMAN: It’s a broad —

TRUMP: They’re looking at a big picture.

BAKER: This is why I want to come back to that email, because, like — does it concern you? Let’s say that the election didn’t change because of anything Russia did, which has been your point, right? You point —

TRUMP: By the way, it’s everybody.

BAKER: Right, your point is that Democrats are trying to use this as an excuse, fine. But did that email concern you, that the Russian government was trying something to compromise——

TRUMP: You know, Peter, I didn’t look into it very closely, to be honest with you.
I don't know about you, but I can actually believe that.  It's probably not true, but it's believable.
BAKER: But on the date you clinched the nominations with New Jersey and California and the primaries, when you give the speech that night, saying you’re going to give a speech about Hillary Clinton’s corrupt dealings with Russia and other countries, and that comes just three hours after Don Jr. —

TRUMP: Number one, remember, I made many of those speeches.

BAKER: People wondered about the timing.

TRUMP: Many of those speeches. I’d go after her all the time.

BAKER: Yeah, I know, but——

TRUMP: But there was something about the book, “Clinton Cash,” came out.

BAKER: Yeah, a year earlier, though. But you were talking about——

TRUMP: But we were developing a whole thing. There was something about “Clinton Cash.”

What - Baker just gives up?
TRUMP: Peter, that’s all I did, was make those speeches about her. … I don’t think I added anything much different than I had been doing. … I’ve made some very strong speeches about the corrupt emails. The 33,000 emails being deleted and bleached, and all of the things she was doing. I would make those speeches routinely. … There wasn’t much I could say about Hillary Clinton that was worse than what I was already saying.

HABERMAN: [laughs] I’m sorry.

TRUMP: I mean, I was talking about, she deleted and bleached, which nobody does because of the cost. How she got away with that one, I have no idea. 33,000 emails. I talked about the back of the plane, I talked about the uranium deal, I talked about the speech that Russia gave Clinton — $500,000 while she was secretary of state — the husband. I talked about the back of the plane — honestly, Peter, I mean, unless somebody said that she shot somebody in the back, there wasn’t much I could add to my repertoire.

HABERMAN: On Fifth Avenue——
Oh, snap! Haberman, at least, has had all he can take.
TRUMP: [...] How can it be better than deleting emails after you get a subpoena from the United States Congress? Guys go to jail for that, when they delete an email from a civil case. Here, she gets an email from the United States Congress —


BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now?

TRUMP: What?

Baker is back in the game.
BAKER: Should she be prosecuted now? Why, then, should she not be prosecuted now——

TRUMP: I don’t want to say that. I mean, I don’t want to say.

SCHMIDT: Last thing.

TRUMP: You understand what I mean, Peter.

BAKER: I know.

TRUMP: I mean, supposing they were able to give me additional — it wouldn’t have helped me. I had so much stuff——

SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller——
Shut up, Schmidt. Baker is working.
TRUMP: And I couldn’t have been better than the stuff I had. Obviously, because I won.
Obviously. Unless the Russians....
SCHMIDT: Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?

HABERMAN: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yeah. I would say yes. By the way, I would say, I don’t — I don’t — I mean, it’s possible there’s a condo or something, so, you know, I sell a lot of condo units, and somebody from Russia buys a condo, who knows?
Who indeed. "It's possible there's a condo or something..." He knows where this is going.

And by the way, it would NOT be a breach of Mueller's charge because he has been tasked with going anywhere he needs to go on anything that comes to light in his investigation.*
I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms. I don’t have buildings in Russia. They said I own buildings in Russia. I don’t. They said I made money from Russia. I don’t. It’s not my thing. I don’t, I don’t do that.
Excuse me for a moment, while I go to Eric Trump....
President Donald Trump's son Eric told golf reporter James Dodson three years ago that the family's company got much of its funding to build its golf courses from Russia, according to an interview Dodson gave to WBUR on Friday.


"Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina."

And when Dodson asked Donald Trump how he managed to secure funding for his courses, he said he had access to $100 million.

Dodson recalled that when he then asked Eric Trump to explain where the $100 million came from, Eric said the company wasn't relying on American banks for the funding because American banks had been reluctant to put money into golf courses after the recession.

"We have all the funding we need out of Russia," Eric reportedly said.

"Really?" Dodson recalled answering.

"Oh, yeah," he said Eric Trump answered. "We've got some guys that really, really love golf, and they're really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time."

  Business Insider

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

 UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler has some thoughts on the interview:
Having attacked all the people who are currently or who have led the investigation into him (elsewhere in the interview, though, Trump claims he’s not under investigation), Trump then suggested that FBI Directors report directly to the President. In that context, he mentioned there’ll soon be a new FBI Director.

In other words, this mostly softball interview (though Peter Baker made repeated efforts to get Trump to explain the emails setting up the June 9, 2016 meeting) served as a largely unfettered opportunity for Trump to take aim at every major DOJ official and at the concept of all prosecutorial independence. And in that same interview, he intimated that the reporting requirements with Christopher Wray — who got nominated, ostensibly, because Comey usurped the chain of command requiring him to report to Loretta Lynch — would amount to Wray reporting directly to Trump.

If you read that article, she also talks about Chris Wray's confirmation hearing and her concerns about Wray's independence from Trump, in light of questions he dodged and questions he wasn't asked.
Given Trump’s direct assault on prosecutorial independence, an assault he launched while clearly looking forward to having Wray in place instead of McCabe, the Senate should go back and get answers. Trump has suggested he thinks Wray will be different than Sessions, Rosenstein, Comey, and McCabe. And before confirming Wray, the Senate should find out whether Trump has a reason to believe that.
Too late, of course, because the Senate Judiciary Committee just voted yes unanimously...and the vote now goes to the Senate floor, where it will no doubt be the same.
The former Justice Department official won unanimous support from the panel, with senators from both parties praising his promise at his hearing last week never to let politics get in the way of the bureau’s mission.

  NY Daily News
If anybody should know that talk is cheap, it should be Senators.

*FURTHER UPDATE:  *Here's the official order appointing Mueller to go far and wide.

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