President Donald Trump phoned into Fox & Friends Thursday morning, and he gave a wild, often shouty interview touching on everything from Ronny Jackson’s failed VA nomination to Kanye West to black unemployment. But the two moments that are likely to cause the biggest headaches for his legal team came when Trump confirmed that he did stay overnight in Moscow during a 2013 trip for the Miss Universe pageant.
According to memos written by former FBI Director James Comey, Trump, unprompted, had denied ever staying the night during the trip. Trump’s denial relates to Christopher Steele’s dossier, which contains unverified allegations about a supposed encounter in Moscow between Trump and prostitutes.
“Of course I stayed there,” the president said Thursday. “I stayed there a very short period of time. But of course I stayed,”
Referencing Comey’s memos documenting conversations between Comey and the president, Trump told the Fox hosts: “Well, his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately.” (“He then explained, as he did at our dinner, that he hadn’t stayed overnight in Russia,” Comey wrote in his memos.)
The second startling moment arrived when Trump was asked about his longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to give self-incriminating testimony in a lawsuit filed by adult film star Stormy Daniels. When asked about the degree to which Cohen handles his legal work, Trump said: “A percentage of my overall legal work, a tiny, tiny little fraction.”
“He represents me with like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal,” the president continued. “He represented me, and from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this, which would have been a problem.”
Trump had previously claimed that he knew nothing about the $130,000 payment Cohen made to Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement signed during the 2016 campaign that was intended to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
Trump’s remarks on Cohen and Daniels are already backfiring in court. Shortly after the interview, the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York referenced the president’s appearance in a legal filing related to a dispute over whether documents seized from Cohen are subject to attorney-client privilege. The president’s statement, federal prosecutors argued, suggested that “seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents.”
Now: SDNY says Hannity, Trump statements about ties to Michael Cohen 'suggest that the seized materials are unlikely to contain voluminous privileged documents' https://t.co/SnN3l2M0Pj pic.twitter.com/Y65a88spil
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) April 26, 2018