Former President Donald Trump returned to the friendly airwaves of Fox News to trash the Stormy Daniels hush money probe as a “scam” and insist he did nothing wrong in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
In a friendly hourlong interview with Sean Hannity, Trump bitterly derided the investigation that could lead to him becoming the first president to be charged with a crime as early as this week.
“It’s a scam. Even people that don’t like me are saying, ‘This is a terrible thing to do to our country,’” Trump said late Monday, referring to the hush money probe.
“People are pleading with the prosecutor: ‘Don’t do it. Don’t do it,” he added. “Because I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Trump also told Hannity that he didn’t notice the threatening photo montage about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe that accompanied a news story he reposted last weekend on his social media site.
The story included an oversized photo of Trump swinging a baseball bat in the White House alongside a separate picture of Bragg, who is leading the probe.
“My people didn’t put up the picture. I think the picture was maybe in the article or was put in it later,” said Trump, who later deleted the post.
The Hannity interview, the second half of which was set to air Tuesday, marked a return to Fox’s airwaves after Trump has spent months sniping at the right wing-leaning network that is controlled by media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
It came as Fox News battles a 1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems over the network’s repeated airing of pro-Trump conspiracy theories about supposed vote rigging in the 2020 election.
The suit bared messages from Hannity and fellow right-wing prime time talking heads Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham showing they knew the vote claims were baseless lies even as they devoted uncritical coverage to Trump’s Big Lie.
Trump also used the interview to deny that he did anything wrong by taking classified documents to his Florida estate when he left office and doing whatever he wanted with them.
“I would have the right to do that,” Trump said Monday night on Fox News. “There’s nothing wrong with it.”
Trump incorrectly insisted the law allows him to do as he pleases with the government documents.
“I have the right to take stuff and look at stuff,” he said. “I have the right to look at stuff.”
The dramatic sit-down came as Trump faces imminent and serious legal peril in both the hush money probe and the documents case.
A grand jury is expected to meet again Wednesday to consider evidence against Trump in the hush money case. It could hear from more witnesses or perhaps be asked to vote on what would be a history-making indictment.
In the documents case, which is being investigated by special counsel Jack Smith, the former president is suspected of improperly taking hundreds of classified documents, mishandling them in violation of federal law and obstructing the probe by defying a subpoena for their return.
Despite the seriousness of the potential charges, Trump derides that probe as “the boxes hoax.”
The explosive interview comes as a new poll shows 56% of Americans say Trump is being treated fairly in the probes while 41% say the investigations amount to a “witch hunt.”
About 75% say they believe he did something illegal or at least improper, compared to just 23% of Americans who believe the former president did nothing wrong, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll on Trump’s legal woes.
Trump also made time in the Hannity sit-down to slam Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
He expressed astonishment that his onetime supporter could think about challenging him for the Republican presidential nomination.
Without his endorsement, Trump said DeSantis would have lost his 2018 primary race and would be working in a “pizza parlor or a law office somewhere.”
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