President Trump had his A-game going as he spoke to Sean Hannity last night. The lifting of the weight of the Mueller investigation has had a noticeable effect on him. Unshackled now for the first time in his presidency, he sounded strong, in command, and ready to move on with his agenda.
In a 45 minute telephone interview, Hannity questioned the President on a wide range of subjects. (The full interview can be heard in the video below.)
Hannity asked Trump why he had not released the FBI’s (unredacted) FISA Court applications and other pertinent documents as he had promised in September and if he was planning to declassify them in the future. Trump said his lawyers had strongly advised him against it because they believed it might open him up to obstruction of justice charges, but said he plans to do so at the appropriate time.
I do, I have plans to declassify and release. I have plans to absolutely release. I have some very talented people working for me, lawyers, and they really didn’t want me to do it early on. … A lot of people wanted me to do it a long time ago. I’m glad I didn’t do it. We got a great result without having to do it, but we will. One of the reasons that my lawyers didn’t want me to do it, is they said, if I do it, they’ll call it a form of obstruction.
Frankly, [I] thought it would be better if we held it to the end. But at the right time, we will be absolutely releasing.
Trump said Moscow would have preferred a Clinton victory “because she wouldn’t have stood up to Russia’s energy industry.” He said that no president has been tougher on Russia than he has been.
The two discussed a tweet that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had sent out yesterday which said “a high-level source tells me it was Brennan who insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the Intelligence Report… Brennan should be asked to testify under oath in Congress ASAP.”
John Brennan has been one of Trump’s most vocal critics and likely did more than anyone else to advance the Russian Collusion theory. As recently as two weeks ago, he told MSNBC viewers “that Mueller was likely planning to indict members of the Trump administration’s family in a scene reminiscent of the “ides of March” and the assassination of Julius Caesar.”
It’s been said he pushed to have the fake Steele dossier included in the classified version of the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election believing that it would lend credibility to its claims. According to Fox News’ Gregg Re, “the dossier is not referenced in the unclassified summary of the ICA report that has been publicly released. Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper previously testified that the dossier was not ultimately used in the ICA at all.”
I think Brennan’s a sick person, I really do. I believe there’s something wrong with him, for him to come out of the CIA and act that way was so disrespectful to the country and to the CIA. He was not considered good at what he did. He was never a respected guy.
Trump discussed his fears early on that his campaign was being spied on and everyone thought he was crazy. I thought it sounded a little nuts myself. Trump said:
When I said there could be somebody spying on my campaign, it went wild out there. They couldn’t believe I could say such a thing. As it turned out, that was small potatoes compared to what went on…Millions and millions [spent] on the phony dossier, and then they used the dossier to start things. It was a fraud, paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
Regarding the infamous tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch just days before James Comey’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton in July 2016, he said:
I had a lot of planes for a long time. I’ve never stopped the plane on the tarmac to let somebody on the plane. Bill Clinton said he was there to play golf, but I know the area very well. Arizona. It’s a little warm at that time of year for golf, OK?
In discussing the “fake news” coverage by networks such as CNN and MSNBC, he pointed out that ratings have “fallen off” dramatically since Attorney General William Barr released his conclusions of the Mueller investigation. Rachel Maddow’s ratings were said to have dropped by 20%.
If you wrote this as a novel, nobody would buy it; it would be a failure, because it would be too unbelievable. We’re getting to the bottom of it. This can never, ever happen to a president again. That was a disgrace and an embarrassment to our country. … Hopefully they won’t get away with it.
We’ll have to see how it all started, but I’m going to leave that to other people, including the attorney general and others, to make that determination. Fifty years, 100 years from now — if someone tries the same thing, they have to know the penalty will be very very great if and when they get caught.
He has emphasized that “this can never, never happen to another president.” I think that’s a positive way of saying that he plans to aggressively investigate how this all began and how it was perpetuated. By doing so, he doesn’t appear to be out for revenge over what they did to him. Instead, he wants to ensure that it never happens again.
Hannity asked him how he felt about Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Schiff continues to insist there is evidence “in plain sight” which shows that Trump colluded with the Russians.
Schiff is a bad guy, he knew he was lying — he’s not a dummy. For a year and a half he would just leak and call up CNN and others. You know, I watch him, so sanctimonious … He knew it was a lie, and he’d get in the back room with his friends in the Democrat Party, and they would laugh like hell. In one way, you could say it’s a crime what he did — he was making statements he knew were false. He’s a disgrace to our country.
They spoke about the text messages between former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page where the two slammed Trump repeatedly and discussed the “insurance policy” if, against all odds, Hillary lost.
It was treason, it was really treason.
You had dirty cops, you had people who are bad FBI folks … At the top, they were not clean, to put it mildly. We can never allow these treasonous acts to happen to another president.
Trump told Hannity that he didn’t fire Comey, whom he called a “terrible guy,” to make this all go away. He knew that “firing Comey would only increase scrutiny on the White House. But he did it anyway because he felt he had to.”
Regarding the New Green Deal, which failed in the senate by a 57-43 margin on Tuesday, Democrats, who refused to go on record as supporting the ludicrous legislation, voted “present.”
I don’t want to speak badly about the New Green Deal, frankly, because I’m afraid they will stop using it, I really do want to campaign against it. It’s ridiculous.
Overall, Trump sounded strong last night. His exoneration after years of conducting his presidency in the shadow of the Mueller investigation and, prior to that, the FBI counterintelligence investigation, seems to have liberated him. He has emerged as a leader.