The US president is starting to sound uncharacteristically defensive in the aftermath of the Manafort and Cohen turmoil.
Overnight, at 1am, a sleepless President Trump blasted out one of his signature tweets: “NO COLLUSION – RIGGED WITCH HUNT!” Blame it on the ambien?
NO COLLUSION – RIGGED WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2018
But in a more tangible threat – one which some said is a classic from an Arab dictator playbook – President Trump said that if he ever got impeached, the stock market would crash and “everybody would be very poor.”
In an interview with Fox and Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt that aired on Thursday, Trump was asked if he thought Democrats would move to file articles of impeachment should they take over control of the House and Senate come November. The president argued that he’s done a great job in office, despite the critical coverage in connection with the Cohen case and other controversies.
“If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor. Because without this thinking [points to head] you would see, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) August 23, 2018
Quoted by CBS, the president cited record unemployment numbers, saying if his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton were elected instead, the country would not be in the position it is in today.
“I freed up, I got rid of regulations, the tax cut was a tremendous thing,” Trump said. “But even before the tax cut, right from the first day, I got rid of regulations. I approved the pipelines, 48,000 jobs. But I did a lot of things. Had Hillary and the Democrats gotten in, had she been president, you would have had negative growth. We picked up $10 trillion worth.”
Trump has long-touted his administration’s ability to deliver on “amazing” economic growth figures, this time crediting much of the country’s success to the GOP tax cut plan, “fairer” trade deals and cutting government regulation.
The stock market has had little reaction so far to Trump’s renewed legal troubles this week with two former advisors now guilty of criminal acts and one implicating him directly. The Dow fell slightly on Wednesday and stock futures were little changed Thursday morning. Traders say the market right now expects Trump to avoid impeachment unless the special counsel investigation can tie the president directly to collusion with Russia to sway the 2016 election.
The S&P 500 is up 7 percent for the year and on Wednesday its run since March 2009 became the longest bull market on record.
“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job,” Trump said.
In the same interview, Trump suggested it should be illegal for people facing prosecution to co-operate with the government for a reduced sentence and he didn’t rule out pardoning his former campaign chief and newly convicted felon Paul Manafort.
As we reported previously, Trump also discussed Cohen’s “hush payments”, saying that that “later on” he knew that former attorney Michael Cohen made hush-money payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal, and insisted the money did not come from campaign funds. “Later on I knew. Later on. What he did — and they weren’t taken out of the campaign finance, that’s the big thing. That’s a much bigger thing […] Did they come out of the campaign? They didn’t come out of the campaign, they came from me.”
Questions surrounding impeachment, however, have once again been raised on Capitol Hill in light of guilty verdicts leveled against two former Trump associates – former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Top Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dick Durbin, say that the discussions of impeachment are “premature” and “not a priority” for the caucus. But a top GOP aide told CBS News’ Nancy Cordes that “this is the most uncomfortable Republicans have been” about the president’s actions.