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Trump interview with George Stephanopoulos, explained

ABC's George Stephanopoulos spent 30 hours with President Donald Trump during the last two days of the week, producing a one-hour television interview that covered the entire poll from 2020 until the president's anger over Mick Mulvaney who coughed at the oval office. And maybe the best way to understand this is juxtaposing with another interview given by Trump last week.

Friday – after a detrimental video excerpt from Stephanopoulos' interview was published but before everything was aired – Trump called for his favorite TV show, Fox and friends, for another long interview. But the hosts refused to challenge Trump significantly, and the interview produced very little news. This is quite normal for Trump, who often makes himself available only to ask questions of interviewers ranging from simple to friendly.

Stephanopoulos' lengthy interview with the president, which was fully broadcast on ABC Sunday night, is relieved. Stephanopoulos has repeatedly challenged false claims and conspiracy theories with which Trump generally distances himself. As a result, the interview resulted in a number of titles, most of which are detrimental to Trump.

At one point, Trump, frustrated by Stephanopoulos' stubborn refusal to make false statements about the Mueller report, even called him a "wise little man."

But beyond the gross insults, the interview highlights issues ranging from Trump's re-election strategy to the fragility of the conspiracy theories he has put forward about the FBI. Here are some key moments and takeaways.

Trump abandons the game of foreign interference

The first and perhaps most remarkable video clip of Trump's interview by Stephanopoulos was released on Wednesday night. In this document, Trump said he was prepared to accept that his Democratic opponents would be subject to deadlock from a foreign entity – a willingness in contradiction to the post of FBI director, Christopher Wray, who testified before the Congress that candidates should contact the FBI in such a case.

"The FBI director is wrong," proclaimed Trump when Stephanopoulos spoke of the post of FBI director he had chosen. "It's not about interference, it's about information."

Trump's highly criticized comments provide perhaps the most striking illustration to date: he is not serious in his intention to prevent the kind of foreign interference his campaign benefited in 2016.

In the days following the release of this clip by ABC, Trump picked it up and said that he would listen to the information given, and then report that contact to the FBI. But he also tried to downplay his original remarks, attacking the media and establishing a false equivalence between the kinds of normal contacts with foreign governments that presidents regularly have and situations in which a foreign opponent touches dust with a political opponent.

During his interview on Friday morning on Fox and friends, Trump went up to reject the very idea that a foreign government would hand him over.

"I do not think anyone would bring me anything bad because they know how much I love this country," he said, ignoring the fact that his campaign had been presented with an offer Foreign filth in 2016 and had taken a meeting instead of contacting the authorities.

the Fox and friends However, the hosts did not challenge Trump on this point.

Trump will not stop talking about the Mueller report

In part of the interview revealed by ABC Sunday morning, Trump repeatedly misunderstood the findings of the special advocate Robert Mueller in his final report on the aforementioned Russian interference campaign.

Trump climbed into the backseat of a car with Stephanopoulos. He evoked the "fake witch hunt" and said, "Mueller goes out. There is no collusion.

But, as Stephanopoulos pointed out, this is not what Mueller said. Here is the transcript of the exchange that followed:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do not think that's what he found, but we do not have time to do it now. We will talk about it later.

TRUMP: That's what he found. Excuse me. He found no collusion. And they found nothing to do with obstruction because they made the decision on the basis of his findings and they said no obstruction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He did not examine the collusion, he presented evidence of obstruction –

TRUMP: Oh, are you trying to say now that there was collusion, even though he said that there was none?

STEPHANOPOULOS: He did not say that there was no collusion.

TRUMP: He said no collusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he did not examine the collusion –

ASSET: George, the report says – no collusion.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you read the report?

TRUMP: Yes, I did it. You should read it too, George.

Suffice it to say that the description of the Mueller report by Stephanopoulos was largely accurate, unlike that of Trump. Mueller concluded that federal prosecutors did not have "enough evidence" to lay charges of conspiracy against Trump or members of his entourage who have not yet been prosecuted, but have been well-guarded to say "no collusion". He detailed extensive evidence that Trump had the least tried to obstruct the justice, but found that "due to the longstanding policy of the Office of the Legal Counsel, prosecute the incumbent president." was not an option.

Trump, however, is not one to let the facts hinder his favorite narrative. This is not the only time in his interview with Stephanopoulos that he made misleading statements.

Trump is in denial of his own poor poll

In another memorable exchange, Trump categorically denied the reality of the poll. He notably led those of his own campaign pollster and was subsequently leaked to the media, showing that he is currently dragging Democratic favorite, former Vice President Joe Biden, into several key field states. battle. . Here is the transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: He still beats you according to the polls.

TRUMP: Well, I do not believe in these polls. There is no way to fight in Texas.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But even your own polls show that you are behind, is not it?

ASSET: No. My polls show that I win everywhere.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do not know. We have all seen this information that 15 out of 17 states spent $ 2 million on a survey and that you are late in 15 out of 17 states.

ASSET: Nobody showed you these surveys because these polls do not exist, George. These polls do not exist. But I just met a person who is a pollster and I win everywhere. So, I do not know what you're talking about.

In this case, Trump's words were belied by his actions. Over the weekend, news has been announced that, following his bleak internal polls, Trump had served three of his five pollsters.

Trump undermines his own theory of "deep state" conspiracy

It took only one question to Stephanopoulos to demystify the plot theory that Trump had put forward about the FBI of the Obama era who was trying to launch the 2016 election for Hillary Clinton.

Referring to the fact that the Trump campaign was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation opened in July 2016, but that the FBI did not disclose this information, Stephanopoulos asked Trump: " If they were determined to prevent you from becoming president, why would not you do it? Do they flee in advance?

But instead of pushing back, Trump acknowledged that Stephanopoulos' premise was correct.

"You know what, you have to ask them," said Trump. "And you know what – if it had been released before the elections, I did not think I would have had time to defend myself."

In other words, even Trump agrees that if the highest officials of the FBI had revealed that the contacts of the Trump campaign with Russia were the subject of an investigation in the months leading up to the elections that would probably have been fatal to his presidential hopes.

But that did not happen. Instead, FBI director James Comey had repeatedly reported Hillary Clinton's email investigation, while Trump's confidant Rudy Giuliani appeared to have been leaked. Two days before Comey sends a letter to Congress announcing the reopening of the Clinton email folder, Giuliani told Fox News that Comey had "a surprise or two that you will hear about in the next two days." Later, Giuliani admitted to receive a heads-up about the "surprise".

In short, the 2016 event timeline suggests that the FBI's actions were really positive for the Trump campaign, not negative. But this story is not practical for Trump, so he tried to rewrite it.

Trump makes empty promises in a transparent way

In response to a question from Stephanopoulos about what he was hoping to accomplish for the voters in the 2020 election, Trump spoke about the adoption of health care legislation. Here is the transcript:

STEPHANOPOULOS: When you go to see the voters in the next year, what's the big unfinished business you're going to say, "What are we going to do?"

TRUMP: So we have almost finished health care. Health care is a disaster, Obamacare. But we did a lot better than they did. So we made it usable, but it's not great. We almost did it. As you know, we got a vote. You know this whole story. And it was a very … unfortunate situation. We would have had excellent health care. So we will do that if we win the House. If we reclaim the House, we will produce phenomenal health care. And we already have the concept of the plan, but it will cost much less than Obamacare. And it will be a lot better health care–

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do not you have to tell people what's the plan?

TRUMP: Yeah, well, we'll announce that in about two months. Perhaps less. So yes, of course. But, again, it is subject to reconquering the House, the Senate and the Presidency. You need all three. But we are –

Trump then promised that his new health care plan would be released "before the elections, yes. We will have a plan well before the elections. Soon. Rather early."

But returning to the claim of universal coverage during the 2016 campaign, Trump has repeatedly made promises about health care that has not materialized. In April, for example, Trump tweeted that "Republicans are developing a really great plan with bonuses and franchises well below those of ObamaCare." But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the next day to the press that he [Trump] we would not do it in the Senate, "and since then no health care bill has advanced. Nevertheless, Trump told Stephanopoulos that a new health care regime would finally see the light of day "soon".

Trump's promise that a new health care bill will be unveiled "in about two months" is reminiscent of his promise to cut taxes for the middle class just before mid-term last year, for forget once the elections have succeeded. So, as now, the truth does not seem to be that Trump is quietly working on projects that, for whatever reason, do not see the light of day, but that he will say anything that, in his view, will be politically beneficial. .

And although Trump told Stephanopoulos that his new mysterious plan would protect people with pre-existing illnesses, every health care piece of legislation he had signaled support for since taking office would take the coverage away from millions of people. people. In short, when it comes to health policy, what Trump does is much more important than what he says.

Trump is strangely cruel to his own staff

A particularly strange moment came when Mick Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, coughed while Trump answered a question about his financial statements, prompting him to ask Mulvaney to leave his office and have the images be shot.

"Come on, he coughs in the middle of my answer," said Trump, while Stephanopoulos looked, apparently incredulous. "Let's do it again. He coughs in the middle of my answer. I do not like it, you know, I do not like it.

"If you're going to cough, leave the room, please," Trump continued. "You can not, you can not cough."

Trump has a long history of germaphobia, but since becoming president, he has reigned, at least publicly. Not only was the moment strange, but he spoke volumes about Trump's interactions with his own staff at the White House.

The interview was a flop

The famous president, obsessed with ratings, must have been disappointed to learn that his big interview for ABC was not a big hit on TV, as Politico said:

George Stephanopoulos, ABC's main presenter, came in third on Sunday night, recording 3.91 million viewers, according to the American TV channel The Numbers.

The ratings of the interview are down sharply from Celebrity Family Feud, which aired last week in the time slot, with 6.1 million viewers. Trump's interview also did not contribute much to the audience of his main film, a replay of Funniest Home Videos, which drew 3.5 million viewers.

Trump's performances during the interview: openness to foreign interference as long as she helps him, putting forward conspicuous conspiracy theories of conspiracy, eulogy of totalitarian dictatorsand more – would have been unthinkable if Stephanopoulos had spoken to another president. But after 30 months of Trump's tenure, the sluggish TV ratings are another indication of Trump's show normalization.

The new advance quickly. To stay up to date, follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter, and read more Political and political coverage of Vox.

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