In a Fox interview, Donald Trump incriminates himself even further: In a move likely to make it even harder for him to find a new lawyer, former President Donald Trump appeared on Fox News Monday night, and seemed to admit that he mishandled classified documents.
Donald Trump Has A Big Problem On His Hands
Less than a week after he pled not guilty in court to a 37-count federal indictment related to his handling of classified documents, former President Donald Trump sat for his first major network interview since then, with Fox News host Bret Baier.
The first half of the interview aired Monday, with the rest set for Tuesday.
The major topic of the interview was the documents case, and how Trump plans to answer the criminal charges. Trump claimed as he has since last year, that he had declassified all of the relevant documents.
“I wanted to go through the boxes and get all my personal things out of them. I don’t want to hand that over to [the National Archives and Records Administration] yet. And I was very busy, as you’ve sort of seen,” Trump said in the interview, per a Newsweek transcript. He added that some of the boxes in question included such items as “”golf shorts, clothing, pants, shoes.”
Trump was also asked about the accusation, from the indictment, that Trump had spoken, in a recorded conversation, about having a classified document in his possession.
“When I said that I couldn’t declassify it now, that’s because I wasn’t president,” Trump claimed in the Fox interview. “There was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else talking about Iran and other things. It may have been held up or may not, but that was not a document. I didn’t have a document, per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.”
As interpreted by Rolling Stone, Trump “all but confessed” to mishandling the documents. He also described federal prosecutors as “very dishonest people, they are thugs,” and speculated that they were “stuffing” the boxes with illegal material.
Trump also stated in the interview, falsely, that he won the 2020 election, “by a lot,” in response to a question from Baier about how he plans to win back the female suburban voters who broke for Biden in 2020. He later cited the much-debunked work of the conservative group True the Vote, which claimed evidence of stuffed ballot boxes in 2020.
Baier challenged him, telling him “You lost the 2020 election,” pointing out the numerous recounts in swing states and the lawsuits that went nowhere, although Trump ran through a series of talking points arguing that he had, in fact, had the election stolen from him.
And in the interview, Baier noted that many of Trump’s former allies have since turned on him, with former administration officials Mike Pence and Nikki Haley even running against him, and the likes of William Barr and John Bolton regularly ripping him on television.
“Because I hired ten to one that were fantastic,” Trump said of others in his administration. “For every person you named, I can name 20 people that loved the administration.”
For a time late last year and earlier this year, there was reportedly a “soft ban” on Trump being directly interviewed on Fox News, as part of a reported move by Rupert Murdoch to pivot his media outlets away from Trump. However, that ban appeared to have relaxed by the late spring, with Trump sitting for a series of interviews with Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson — prior to the host’s firing by Fox — and Mark Levin. Trump also sat for a town hall with Fox on June 1, weeks after a similar event with CNN.
Trump did state, in the Baier interview, that “I’m no great fan of Fox.”
As of Monday night, Trump had not yet addressed the interview on Truth Social, although he had touted it before it aired.
Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.