On Thursday night, Donald Trump did a 45-minute phone interview with Fox News’ flagship face: Sean Hannity.
That, on its own, is, well, odd. The President of the United States spending 45 minutes on the phone with a conservative talk show host isn’t something that happened ever before. And may not happen ever again. Also, sort of weird in that Hannity hosts a TV show and TV is a visual medium – not exactly the preferred medium for an extended phone interview.
But it’s not just that Trump did it that is so startling. (In fact, calling into cable shows has been a regular Trump practice since the 2016 campaign and even before). It’s what Hannity and Trump talked about. I went through the most remarkable 45 lines from the 45-minute interview, but suffice it to say that it was a miasma of conspiracy theorizing, fact-free “analysis” and martyrdom.
“So, I really say, now we have to get down because this was a coup,” Trump said at one point, referring to the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government.”
At another, Trump said this: “This was a coup. This wasn’t stealing information from an office in the Watergate apartments. This was an attempted coup.”
He offered almost no evidence – beyond anti-Trump texts between two FBI employees – to back up any of these claims.
Here’s what’s important about all of that: Trump was at his most comfortable in this interview. He was on the phone from the White House talking to one of his most ardent defenders in Hannity. This interview is as close to the “real” Donald Trump as you are going to get.
And what did we get? A series of entirely unproven conspiracy theories. A series of bullying claims about his opponents – including that Joe Biden “is not the brightest bulb in the group.” And time and time again, a deep victimhood complex – in which everyone but Hannity and a few other true loyalists were out to get Trump but he somehow, managed to persevere.
The Point: The Trump of Thursday’s “Hannity” interview is the honest-to-goodness Trump. Which is a truly daunting thing.
And now, the week in 43 headlines.
- Trump sues to block Dems from obtaining his financial records
- Trump claims ‘nobody disobeys my orders’
- Admin: Countries importing Iranian oil will be subject to sanctions
- Herman Cain withdraws from Fed consideration, Trump says
- High school journalists take on DeVos after being barred from event
- House panel issues subpoena to former WH counsel Don McGahn
- WH ordered Trump administration officials to boycott WHCA Dinner
- Kushner: Russia investigations more harmful ‘than a couple Facebook ads’
- Cohen set to report to one of prison May 6
- Trump to make first state visit to UK in June
- SCOTUS will hear arguments over census citizenship question
- WH tells official not to comply with subpoena over clearances
- Trump doesn’t want aides to testify to Congress after Mueller report
- Acting DHS chief: Family separations policy ‘not worth it’
- WH may seek to prevent McGahn from complying with subpoena
- Pelosi says she will meet with Trump next week about infrastructure
- Treasury misses deadline to turn over Trump tax returns
- House asks court to block Trump’s border wall before it starts
- Trump at war with Democrats: ‘We’re fighting all the subpoenas’
- DOJ won’t comply with House subpoena over citizenship question
- Trump touts ‘progress’ in combating the opioid crisis
- House Oversight opens investigation into EPA admin
- NYT: Mulvaney urged Nielsen to not bring up future Russian election meddling to Trump
- ‘Like pulling teeth’ to get WH to focus on election interference
- Trump says he agrees with Ocasio-Cortez that the VA isn’t broken
- WSJ: Cohen tells Arnold he didn’t do crimes he pleaded guilty to
- Trump calls working dogs ‘the greatest equipment in the world’
- US Navy introducing guidelines for pilots to report UFO sightings
- US Border Patrol begins fingerprinting children under 14 years old
- WSJ: Moore will remove himself from consideration if he becomes a ‘liability’
- Trump says there was an attempted ‘coup’ on his administration
- Rosenstein unloads on critics
- DHS request for more troops at the border is sent to the Pentagon
- Judge blocks Trump administration’s Title X abortion ‘gag rule’
- Admin sets up plan to identify thousands of separated families
- Trump now says parents must vaccinate children
- FBI director says Russia a ‘significant counterintelligence threat’
- NK presented US with $2 million bill for care of Otto Warmbier
- Connolly threatens to jail officials who won’t comply with subpoenas
- Abe set for White House visit
- Trump causes congressional headaches with McGahn obsession
- Trump gives base-pleasing NRA speech, teasing 2020 pitch
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