All of today’s “Quick Takes” will come from the bombshells contained in this clip of Donald Trump’s interview with Lester Holt.
* First of all, it’s interesting to note that at the beginning of the clip the president is talking about former FBI Director James Comey and refers to him as a “showboat” and “grandstander.”
I was reminded of all of the reports about how Steve Bannon was reigned in by Trump when the press began referring to him as the guy who controlled the president. So this is part of why Trump was angry with Comey—he was threatening the president’s dominance.
* Secondly, Trump just went against everything the White House has said (including what was in his own memo to Comey) about the process of deciding to fire the FBI director. Several times he reiterated that he had already made the decision to fire Comey before he got the recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein.
Trump’s statement he “was going to fire regardless of recommendation” contradicts every on-the-record statement from WH aides in past 2 days
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) May 11, 2017
Once again, listening to Trump talk about that it is impossible to escape the fact that he needed to assert his own dominance as “the decider.”
* Those statements from Trump expose the fact that VP Pence has been lying.
In meetings on Capitol Hill and in interviews, Pence has said this week that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interests of the American people and to ensuring that the FBI has the trust and confidence of the people this nation,” Pence told reporters Wednesday.
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) May 11, 2017
* Finally, the big news that is already surfacing about this interview is the fact that Trump outlines how, on three separate occasions, he asked Comey whether he was personally under investigation by the FBI.
* For reactions, I’ll start with conservative Joe Scarborough.
I don’t know if the viewers picked up on just how extraordinary that piece of tape… is. But the president of the United States just admitted on national television that he called the director of the FBI to get an update on the status of a possible criminal investigation against him.
Now, for Republicans, and editorial boards who rightly condemned Loretta Lynch for meeting Bill Clinton on the summer, to talk about golf and kids and grandchildren, I wonder if those Republicans are going to be just as critical of the president of the United States asking the FBI director if he was under criminal investigation…
And the president just admitted that he did this, and we know that since that’s an admission against interest as we would say in the court, we know that part is true, but we know the other part is a lie. Because Jim Comey has sworn under oath that Donald Trump is under investigation, and we heard again today by the acting director of the FBI that it’s an investigation that they take very seriously.
* At least one lawyer on twitter was stunned.
A public official CANNOT do this!! Full stop. It is impermissible interference and flat out obstruction. It is more crazy than Nixon. https://t.co/lBLzg9JQMe
— bmaz (@bmaz) May 11, 2017
* Kevin Drum sums up:
The president of the United States cannot call the director of the FBI and ask if he is under investigation, especially when the threat of firing the FBI director is obviously hanging in the air. This is indeed fucking bananas.