Even by Trumpian standards, the call-in to "Fox and Friends" on Thursday morning was ranty and bizarre.
The president kicked off the lengthy interview by wishing his wife Melania a happy birthday. Asked what he gave her for the occasion, Trump said, "Maybe I didn't get her so much. I got her a beautiful card.” He’s very busy being president, he explained.
Trump doesn’t often speak directly to the press and takes few questions (or picks fights) when he does. But on "Fox and Friends," his first television interview in months, the president kicked back and let loose.
Here are the major takeaways from the interview:
James Comey really grinds Trump’s gears
The president got worked up Thursday morning when his former FBI director came up.
“Comey, what he did Bryan, was terrible,” Trump yelled. “He leaked classified information.”
Comey has been on a media tour, promoting his new book, “Higher Loyalty,” which details his time serving under Trump. The book doesn’t show the president in a generous light.
Trump went on: “He is guilty of crimes, and if we had a Justice Department that was doing its job—”
“Mr. President, it’s your Justice Department,” host Steve Doocy interjected. “You have a Republican running it.”
Touché, Doocy. But Trump told "Fox and Friends" he still thinks the department, run by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is infiltrated by people who shouldn’t be there. He’s taken a policy of not engaging with them at all until the Russia investigation — which Trump likes to call the “witch hunt” — concludes.
Mike Pompeo “wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un”
Trump confirmed that Pompeo, his pick to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, secretly met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea for over an hour more than three weeks ago — but that apparently wasn’t the plan.
“Mike Pompeo did go there, he wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong-Un, but he did,” Trump said. “They arranged, actually, while he was there, to say hello.”
During the impromptu hangout, Pompeo and Kim likely discussed the Hermit Kingdom leader’s upcoming sit-down with Trump in June to discuss nuclear disarmament.
Andrew McCabe allegedly pocketed his wife’s campaign contributions
Trump claimed, once again, that McCabe, formerly second-in-command at the FBI, took $700,000 from a group linked to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Democratic Party when his wife ran for a Virginia State Senate seat. It’s a point Trump has been harping on to criticize McCabe’s judgement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation since he fired McCabe in March.
McCabe’s wife — not McCabe — received that money, which was already the subject of a Justice Department investigation. McCabe was involved with FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s email server. But Comey had final say on whether to bring charges against Clinton, and there’s no indication that a donation given to his wife’s campaign compromised McCabe’s judgement.
Michael Cohen represented Trump in his dealings with Stormy Daniels
Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney, said he’d plead the Fifth on Wednesday in the lawsuit brought by Stormy, the porn star who claims Trump paid her, via Cohen, to keep quiet about an alleged affair that she had with the president years ago.
Trump, however, let the cat out of the bag. “He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal. He represented me,” Trump told "Fox and Friends." “He did absolutely nothing wrong."
Trump previously said he knew nothing about the agreement with Stormy. And her lawyer is all over it.
Cohen is also the target of a federal investigation into his shady business practices, potentially connected to the Russia probe. He’s in the process of trying to convince a judge that he should have the ability to review any materials — to look for any violations of attorney client-privilege — that the FBI seized when agents raided his business and hotel room several weeks ago.
Trump, however, said Cohen only worked on a “tiny, tiny, tiny fraction” of his legal work.
Trump’s a very busy and productive man
Despite all the controversies swirling around the White House, Trump still thinks he’s the most effective president in history.
“And yet I’ve accomplished, with all of this going on, more than any president in the first year in our history, and even the enemies and the haters admit that,” he said. “Nobody’s done what we’ve done, what I’ve done.”
Trump has delivered on several of his main campaign promises. Republicans strong-armed the biggest tax cuts in decades through Congress at the end of last year, for example.
But Trump has also hit some critical roadblocks. His party hasn’t been able to repeal Obamacare after multiple attempts. Job growth, despite Trump’s repeated claims, is still sluggish. And he has historically low approval ratings.
Trump’s a fan of Kanye
After Kanye’s wild tweetstorm on Thursday that largely praised the president and his MAGA movement, Trump decided the rap mogul has “good taste.”
“I get along with Kanye, I get along with a lot of people, frankly,” Trump said. “Kanye looks and he sees black unemployment at the lowest it’s been in the history of our country.”
Cover image: In this Feb. 15, 2018 photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room at the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)