US President Donald Trump has warned that any attempt to impeach him would result in the crash of the American economy.
- Donald Trump says “somebody who’s done a great job” shouldn’t be impeached
- President plays down his relationship to longtime former lawyer Michael Cohen
- Jeff Sessions hits back after more criticism from Mr Trump
The President made the claim as the White House struggled to manage the fallout from a plea deal Mr Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen made with prosecutors, and the conviction of his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on financial charges.
The back-to-back legal blows have raised speculation that the Democrats would launch impeachment proceedings if they win the House of Representatives later this year.
Mr Trump argued the move would have dire economic consequences.
“If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor,” Mr Trump told Fox News.
“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job,” he added.
Incensed over the deal Mr Cohen has made, Mr Trump said it might be better if “flipping” was illegal because people “just make up lies”.
The President tried to play down his relationship to his longtime “fixer”, who said the President directed a hush money scheme to buy the silence of two women who say they had affairs with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump said Mr Cohen only worked for him part time, and accused the lawyer of making up stories to reduce his legal exposure.
“I know all about flipping. For 30, 40 years I’ve been watching flippers,” Mr Trump said.
“Everything’s wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they — they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go.”
That tool “almost ought to be outlawed. It’s not fair,” Mr Trump said, adding it creates an incentive to “say bad things about somebody … just make up lies”.
The President suggested that Mr Cohen’s legal trouble stemmed from his other businesses, including involvement with the New York City taxi industry.
On Manafort, Mr Trump did not say whether he would offer a pardon, but expressed “great respect” for him and argued that some of the charges made against him are things that “every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does”.
Sessions hits back after Trump criticism
Mr Trump also repeated a litany of complaints about the Justice Department and the FBI, attacking both without providing evidence they had treated him and his supporters unfairly.
He renewed his criticism of Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, blaming him for what he called corruption at the Justice Department.
“I put in an Attorney-General who never took control of the Justice Department,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Sessions, in a rare rebuttal to Mr Trump, issued a statement defending the integrity of his department.
“I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in,” he said.
“While I am Attorney-General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”
Mr Sessions, a longtime US senator and early supporter of Mr Trump’s presidential bid, drew Mr Trump’s ire when he recused himself in March 2017 from issues involving the 2016 White House race.
That removed him from oversight of the federal Special Counsel’s investigation of Russia’s role in the election and whether Mr Trump’s campaign worked with Moscow to influence the vote.
Mr Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a witch hunt.
“Jeff Sessions recused himself, which he shouldn’t have done,” Mr Trump said.
“He took the job and then he said, ‘I’m going to recuse myself’. I said, ‘What kind of a man is this?'”
But Mr Trump told Fox News he would not interfere in department matters.
“I will stay uninvolved and maybe that’s the best thing to do,” he said.
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