Trump has an epic meltdown during a live Fox & Friends interview.
Trump recites conspiracy theory about the “DNC server”
The expansive remarks by the president came during a rambling, roughly hourlong phone call to “Fox & Friends,” in an exercise co-host Brian Kilmeade dubbed a “stress release.”
The previous two weeks have been a period of intense pressure for the White House, as impeachment investigators have heard televised testimony from a dozen witnesses detailing a sweeping campaign by the Trump administration seeking Ukraine-led probes into the president’s political opponents.”
I do want always corruption I say that
to anybody like technically a slip of
the tongue I guess some would say a
Freudian slip perhaps with that Donald
Trump Brewer than you purposed so
exactly exactly so there Donald Trump
president of these United States called
up Fox and Friends and they tried to
interview him I can’t say that they
interviewed him because that implied
that he ever stopped talking and they
got an a questioning they did get
questions in occasion essentially and it
was the kind of question where they just
repeat what he just said in astonishment
mm-hmm like you don’t what you want a
great example of that let’s do let’s go
to our first clip because we got a feel
that we’re to go to but Donald Trump
he’s not going to be deterred by like
Fiona Hills testimony yesterday about
how the whole CrowdStrike Ukraine 2016
thing is a Russian promoted conspiracy
theory to get the suspicion off of them
for interfering with US elections that
was just yesterday that was debunked yet
again a Donald Trump today spreading it
on Fox and Friends from the DNC
Democratic National Committee who has
the sir know the FBI went and they told
him get out of here you’re not kidding
we’re not giving it to you
they gave the server to CrowdStrike or
whatever it’s called which is a country
which is a company owned by a very
wealthy Ukrainian and I still wanted to
see that server you know the FBI has
never gotten that server that’s a big
part of this whole thing why did they
give it to a Ukrainian company where you
sure they did that are you sure they
gave it to Ukraine well the next word
start a Trump are like that’s what I
hear that that’s a word that’s the word
that’s there’s a lot of words on the
internet you should not trust most of
them these of them are bad words this is
so horrible mm-hmm like that
specifically is so horrible and a
microcosm of what’s been happening in
under the trump presidency like those
are jesters this was a four there’s a
fifty minute interview with Donald Trump
a fifty minute show and never anywhere
else has it been so apparent that Fox
and Friends are the court jesters
because jesters job was to come before
and put on a show just before the king
as he doesn’t care if they live or die
as he toys with them to his heart’s
content either laughing at them and
rewarding them with praise or not being
satisfied with their performance and
then like literally tarring and
feathering them I like the metaphor and
I think that there’s something to that
but like the Jester is supposed to be
able to talk every once in a while like
this is the gesture like are you sure
you want don’t don’t pick that up no
don’t throw that when mr. president
seriously we don’t eat that that’s not
every other day when he’s not on the
show is the jesters performance because
this is that moment where the Justin
where the court with a the the King
gives them feedback gives them feedback
yeah that’s it and it becomes so
apparent in this moment as they just
stare and the producers need to do
something else basically with that I cut
them like and I don’t understand how
people watching that at home don’t see
their beloved Fox and Friends faces yeah
just melting with a sad you sure about
that and like occasionally I want Jarrow
to make a mashup for the main show but
he’ll be talking talking talking like
start talking and John stop talking
yours okay I’ve decided right what
happened was the tightness in the shots
what they do he keeps talking they try
to get a question because he’s rambling
off and they try to get in and they
can’t and then they smile at the camera
because they know this is this is
pointless we don’t even need to be here
we should just given him you know sent
him a webcam and he could broadcast an
hour to the Fox audience but anyway to
the content of what he said there he
said they the FBI came into the DNC and
tried to get the server and they said get
out of here FBI which is a thing you can
legally do somehow and they didn’t give
this the server all of that is nonsense
and it’s it’s so many steps of nonsense
that it makes you just feel like a crazy
person CrowdStrike is not a Ukrainian
company it’s a it’s a company based in
California that’s what it is
there wasn’t a server there were 140
servers some of them physical servers
some of them digital servers information
existing in the cloud which is a concept
you’re not going to get the president to
understand there was no one server to
hand over there were many servers which
were imaged and all of the information
was given to the FBI the FBI which by
the way along with 16 other intelligence
services the United States all agree
that Ukraine was not meddling in the
2016 election it was Russia but he is
spreading this conspiracy theory which
can be if you go back far enough the
origins are the Russian intelligence
services themselves he is continuing to
spread and already many times debunked
conspiracy theory in the midst of this
impeachment inquiry and well that’s his
defense and he isn’t even spreading it
right which only serves the purpose of
conspiracy conspiracy theories at large
which is just this cloud of doubt is a a
bunch of sand that is his only goal
thank you for watching this clip from
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His mental deficiencies may save American democracy.
The surprising thing about the constitutional crisis we’re now facing is that it took so long to happen. It was obvious from early on that the president of the United States is a would-be autocrat who accepts no limits on his power and considers criticism a form of treason, and he is backed by a party that has denied the legitimacy of its opposition for many years. Something like this moment was inevitable.
What still hangs in the balance is the outcome. And if democracy survives — which is by no means certain — it will largely be thanks to one unpredictable piece of good luck: Donald Trump’s mental deficiency.
I don’t mean that Trump is stupid; a stupid man couldn’t have managed to defraud so many people over so many years. Nor do I mean that he’s crazy, although his speeches and tweets (“my great and unmatched wisdom”; the Kurds weren’t there on D-Day) keep sounding loonier.
He is, however, lazy, utterly incurious and too insecure to listen to advice or ever admit to a mistake. And given that he is in fact what he accuses others of being — an enemy of the people — we should be thankful for his flaws.
Never mind the clear demonstration that the G.O.P.’s Obama-era hyperventilating about deficits was completely hypocritical. The more important point is that $300 billion is a lot of money, and it should have been enough to buy Trump a lot of political gain.
After all, other white nationalists trying to do what Trump is trying to do — subvert the rule of law and convert their nations from democracies on paper to one-party autocracies in practice — have solidified their grasp on power by delivering at least a bit on their populist promises. In Poland, for example, the Law and Justice party has increased social spending and is now promising a big rise in the minimum wage.
Trump’s domestic economic policy, however, has been standard Republican top-down class warfare. None of that $300 billion went for social benefits or even his continually promised, never-delivered infrastructure plan. Instead, it went mainly into tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy that have done little to boost investment.
At the same time, Trump has pursued his personal tariff obsession despite mounting evidence that it’s hurting growth. The economy was supposed to be his big political selling point. Instead, polls of his net job approval on economic policy are, on average, barely positive even now — and likely to get worse as tariffs on consumer goods bite and the economy slows.But Trump’s squandered economic opportunities are, of course, secondary at this point to his de facto self-impeachment.
Just a few weeks ago it seemed that Trump would skate on charges both of colluding with Russia to subvert the 2016 election and of obstruction of justice; the Mueller report was basically a bust, partly because the story was complicated, partly because of Robert Mueller’s diffidence.
But Trump has managed to make things clear enough for everyone to understand. First he demanded that foreign regimes produce dirt on domestic political rivals, not just in phone calls but right there on camera. Now he’s engaged in a crude, obvious effort to stonewall the House impeachment inquiry that is clearly an impeachable offense in itself.
Why did he hand the defenders of democracy so much ammunition? Partly he seems to have gotten high on his own supply — he actually seems to believe the bizarre conspiracy theories his supporters drum up to excuse his actions. Also, he evidently lacks any kind of self-restraint. Even if he considers any effort to hold him accountable a form of treason, he should have known better than to blurt it out in public.
So Trump’s own actions explain why a vote to impeach, which seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago, now looks almost inevitable. Conviction in the Senate is still unlikely, but not as impossible as it once appeared.
The larger point is that if Trump were cannier and more self-controlled, the march to autocracy might well be unstoppable. He has the backing of a party whose elected representatives have shown no sign of democratic scruples. He has de facto state media in the form of Fox News and the rest of the Murdoch empire. He has already managed to corrupt key government agencies, including the Justice Department.
Indeed, these advantages are so large that the assault on democracy may yet prevail. The only reason it might falter is, as I said, Trump’s own deficiencies.
It says a lot about the modern G.O.P. that the party is still solidly behind a man so obviously, grotesquely, not up to the job (although some rank-and-file Republicans now back an impeachment inquiry). But those of us who want America as we know it to survive should be grateful that Trump is so immature and incompetent. His character flaws are the only thing that gives us a fighting chance.
I don’t think it’s possible to fully grasp the Ukraine scandal without understanding the dynamic outlined by former homeland security adviser Thomas Bossert last weekend. Recall that he told ABC News and the New York Times that a pernicious cycle had taken hold in the White House — even as aides debunked 2016 conspiracy theories, Trump allies (including Rudy Giuliani) would sell the president once again on wild tales. Here’s the Times report on Bossert:
“It is completely debunked,” Mr. Bossert said of the Ukraine theory on ABC. Speaking with George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Bossert blamed Mr. Giuliani for filling the president’s head with misinformation. “I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again, and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity.”
Other former aides said separately on Sunday that the president had a particular weakness for conspiracy theories involving Ukraine, which in the past three years has become the focus of far-right media outlets and political figures. Mr. Trump was more willing to listen to outside advisers like Mr. Giuliani than his own national security team.
I’ve heard many of these conspiracy theories, and — like many conspiracies — they can use a base of troubling truth as a launching pad for the most bizarre of claims. For example,
- the origin of the Steele Dossier is troubling and worth investigating.
- The Carter Page FISA applications should also be closely examined. It is not at all uncommon (sadly) for to find examples of overreach or abuse in any far-flung and complex investigation — that’s one reason why defense lawyers often spend so much time on suppression motions before trials.
But the theories floating around online Trumpworld go far, far beyond any discernible connection to logic or evidence.
But here’s the problem — the wildest theories are floated in the quarters that are most fiercely devoted to the president. They’re the ones who constantly to refer to the “real collusion” as the connection between Democrats and the Ukrainian government. They’re the ones who cast doubt on the very idea that Russia interfered in the election at all, much less on Trump’s behalf. They’re the ones constantly using absurd words like “coup” to describe constitutional and legal processes that are adverse to Trump. And, based on the transcript of the call with Volodymyr Zelensky, it seems as if Trump is drinking deeply of their conspiratorial Kool-Aid.
In their click-bait zeal to curry favor with the world’s most powerful man, they are feeding Trump’s worst instincts, and now we know that he’s warped American diplomacy in one of the world’s most dangerous neighborhoods as a result.
In an interview earlier today, I described the scandal as one part corruption, one part fitness. Yes, it’s venal and corrupt to depart from any conventional legal process to urge a dependent foreign government (or a hostile foreign government, like China) to investigate a domestic political rival — especially in the absence of evidence of criminal wrongdoing. But the willingness to believe in conspiracy theories and conduct diplomacy accordingly also speaks less to Trump’s corruption than whether he has the character, knowledge, and temperament to be president. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the fitness aspect of this controversy may well be dominant.
Trump’s most extreme allies have built a large media following, but the most important person in that audience is the current occupant of the Oval Office. They’ve succeeded in convincing the most powerful man in the world that their theories are right. They’re influencing diplomacy at the highest levels. But they just might be planting the seeds of Trump’s political destruction. They’ve helped put their beloved president on the path to impeachment.