The host of Anderson Cooper 360 discussed the sit-down on his Thursday night show with law professor Alan Dershowitz, who said Trump’s suggestion that he could interfere with the Justice Department’s investigations shouldn’t be taken too literally.
“I think it would go down a very bad road for us to start parsing the president’s words to determine whether or not the president of the United States is exercising his authority under Article II or violating the law,” Dershowitz said. “How do you ever interpret statements made by Donald Trump? He made a vague, general statement intended to convey different points to different people.”
But Cooper took issue with the very idea that the president of the United States shouldn’t be taken at his word.
“Don’t you think that it’s kind of surreal that we are in a place now as a country where we’re like, ‘Oh, don’t listen to the president,’ like he’s a crazy person on a park bench with an onion tied to his belt, just mumbling incoherently,” Cooper said.
“You’re saying don’t parse these words. You’re saying, essentially, don’t listen to him, don’t pay attention to the words that come out of his mouth because they really have no meaning, that’s basically what you’re saying,” the CNN host continued.
Cooper went on to compare Trump to another U.S. president — the disgraced Richard Nixon.
“It was like listening to the rantings of Richard Nixon on the tapes,” Cooper said, referring to tapes of Nixon’s conversations in the White House about Watergate and its cover-up. “Except this is on live television. He’s calling in, screaming, yelling into the telephone.”
President Donald Trump called into Fox & Friends for a live interview on Thursday, where he commanded the conversation for 30 minutes with heated talk of his ties to attorney Michael Cohen, special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and Kanye West’s pro-Trump tweets. He also suggested he might become involved in investigations by his Justice Department.
“I’ve taken the position — and I don’t have to take this position, and maybe I’ll change — that I will not be involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said.
“I will wait till this is over,” he added, referring to Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
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The Washington Post noted that Trump ranted for so long that the Fox & Friends hosts seemed to be trying to politely bring the interview to a close, with one anchor finally saying: “We could talk to you all day but it looks like you have a million things to do.” But the hosts encouraged Trump to call back anytime — which it turns out is his plan.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared to take Fox & Friends hosts off guard Friday morning when she told them Trump wants to return to the show regularly.
“The president has said he would like to perhaps come once a month and as news breaks,” Conway said, according to The Hill. “He’ll keep us guessing.”