On his show Wednesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed that a source with knowledge told him that The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward scored an interview with President Donald Trump because Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, pushed for it.
Excerpts of Woodward’s soon to be released book were published by The Washington Post earlier this week, suggesting the President downplayed the coronavirus threat when he knew it was “more deadly” than the flu and other seasonal viruses.
Sen. Graham’s office responds: Senator Graham’s office noted that the President’s White House aides were charged with the approval process and in the end it the final decision rested with Trump.
Graham’s office reiterated that the Senator is a staunch defender of President Trump, saying Trump fully cooperated “with Woodard for this book,” while Chiefs of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Mark Meadows allowed the interviews.
President Donald Trump responded forcefully to the allegations. He stated that he sought to never sow fear among the American people.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday night, Trump said that as “the leader of the country, I can’t be jumping up and down and scaring people. I don’t want to scare people. I want people not to panic, and that’s exactly what I did.”
The biggest question for many is why did the President agree to do such an interview with a journalist from a paper he regularly calls “fake news” for writing opposition pieces about him and members of his administration, one that sometimes even writes more glowingly of terrorist leaders. Moreover, Woodward already wrote a scathing book about Trump in 2018. Carlson says it’s Graham who orchestrated the interviews for Woodward’s forthcoming book.
“It was Lindsey Graham who helped convince Donald Trump to talk to Bob Woodward,” Tucker said. “Lindsey Graham brokered that meeting. Lindsey Graham even sat in on the first interview between Bob Woodward and the President. How did that turn out?”
He added, “Now, remember, Lindsey Graham is supposed to be a Republican, so why would he do something like that. You’d have to ask him. But, keep in mind that Lindsey Graham has opposed, passionately opposed virtually every major policy initiative that Donald Trump articulated when he first ran from ending illegal immigration to pulling back from pointless wars, to maintaining law and order at home. Lindsey Graham was against all of that more than many Democrats.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading voices on the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, also defended Trump on Fox Wednesday. He said there was no discrepancy between what the President discussed behind closed doors and the message he delivered to the American public.
“I didn’t get any sense that he was distorting anything. I mean, in my discussions with him, they were always straightforward about the concerns that we had. We relayed that to him and when he would go out, I’d hear him discussing the same sort of things,” Fauci explained to Fox’s John Roberts.
Trump slammed Woodward on Twitter Thursday morning for keeping his quotes private “for many months,” adding “If he thought they were so bad or dangerous, why didn’t he immediately report them in an effort to save lives? Didn’t he have an obligation to do so? No, because he knew they were good and proper answers. Calm, no panic!”
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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