In the wave of word wash and nervous spew contained in his “freewheeling” interview with the right-wing sludge generator known as the Daily Caller, Donald Trump reminds us that if he keeps talking, eventually he’ll say something that reveals what he’s actually thinking. In this case, that moment slipped by almost unnoticed.
H/T to Sonam Sheth and Business Insider:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday indicated during an interview that he tapped former US attorney Matthew Whitaker to replace then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in order to rein in the Russia investigation.
Here is the relevant portion of the transcript:
THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —
POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?
WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.
POTUS: A 20-page?
THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.
POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody that’s very respected.
I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.
It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.
THE DAILY CALLER: Right.
But the interviewer didn’t ask him about the Mueller investigation. Never brought it up. Trump was being asked about potential attorney general nominees. Suddenly Whitaker pops into his head and immediately we go to his rationale for shutting down the Mueller probe into Trump’s collusion with Russia.
As pointed out by Sheth, this has happened before. When Trump gave an interview to Lester Holt of NBC news, he let slip the fact that he had fired James Comey to thwart the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia. That admission now forms one of the central points of the Mueller investigation into Trump’s obstruction of justice..
“What is so unusual about Trump is that he publicly forecasts his motivation in a way that is self-defeating and self-incriminating,” Elie Honig, a former prosecutor from the Southern District of New York who specialized in organized-crime cases, told INSIDER.
Jeffrey Cramer, a longtime former federal prosecutor who spent 12 years at the DOJ, echoed that assessment.
“The president’s knee-jerk pivot to talking about the Russia investigation when asked about Whitaker’s qualification is what poker players call a ‘tell,'” Cramer told INSIDER.
Donald Trump isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is.
Just keep talking, buddy!
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