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Fox News Sends Trump Into a Fury Over Michael Cohen

Tucker Carlson Tonight is a helluva drug

President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in WashingtonTrump US China, Washington, USA - 22 Feb 2019

President Donald Trump speaks during his meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Trump US China, Washington, USA - 22 Feb 2019

Susan Walsh/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Trump’s initial response to Michael Cohen’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday was uncharacteristically restrained. This is largely because Trump was in Vietnam, many time zones away from his favorite Fox News programs. He was back in the White House residence on Friday morning, though, his energy laser-focused on Tucker Carlson, who offered a novel angle from which the president could attack his former attorney and fixer. “Wow, just revealed that Michael Cohen wrote a ‘love letter to Trump’ manuscript for a new book that he was pushing,” Trump tweeted. “Written and submitted long after Charlottesville and Helsinki, his phony reasons for going rogue. Book is exact opposite of his fake testimony, which now is a lie!”

“Congress must demand the transcript of Michael Cohen’s new book, given to publishers a short time ago,” he added. “Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!”

As Matthew Gertz of Media Matters points out, Trump only wrote that the news of the book was “just revealed” because it was featured on Carlson’s show Thursday night. In reality, it was reported early last year that Cohen was shopping a book called Trump Revolution: From The Tower to The White HouseUnderstanding Donald J. Trump. According a copy of the proposal obtained by the Daily Beast, the book would have chronicled Cohen’s time as the Trumps’ “family fix-it guy.” Cohen reached a publishing deal with an imprint of Hachette Book Group, but it fell apart after it became clear that Cohen was in a small bit of legal trouble.

It’s unclear why Trump believes anything in a manuscript for the book would help him. Cohen has readily admitted that he lied for the president for 10 years and that his livelihood was dependent upon supporting Trump at all costs. Writing a book praising the president’s rise to power would have been entirely consistent with Cohen’s behavior before he was indicted, and uncovering a bunch of laudatory anecdotes about the president is not going to make anything Cohen said about him on Wednesday any less true. Nevertheless…

Trump didn’t confine his anger to his former attorney. Congress and the Department of Justice were in the crosshairs as well, as usual.

“Oh’ I see!” the president added a few minutes later. “Now that the 2 year Russian Collusion case has fallen apart, there was no Collusion except bye Crooked Hillary and the Democrats, they say, ‘gee, I have an idea, let’s look at Trump’s finances and every deal he has ever done. Let’s follow discredited Michael Cohen and the fraudulent and dishonest statements he made on Wednesday. No way, it’s time to stop this corrupt and illegally brought Witch Hunt. Time to start looking at the other side where real crimes were committed. Republicans have been abused long enough. Must end now!”

As Gertz notes, the language in Trump’s tweet was taken verbatim from a Tucker Carlson Tonight chyron, another terrifying reminder that no one — not his advisers, not the members of his Cabinet, not intelligence officials — has as much influence over the president of the United States as a handful of loyal Fox News hosts, who have almost total dominion over his thinking. Their praise for Trump has never wavered, and thus he will believe whatever they say.

After a rough trip to Hanoi, during which he “walked” from talks with Kim Jong-un, a hearty dose of Fox News was just what the president needed. Air Force One landed in Washington, D.C. just after 1 a.m., and Trump was in the residence harvesting validation from a TiVo’d episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight seven hours later. It’s Trump’s Executive Time. The rest of us are just living in it.

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