In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
- Other presidents lamented disloyal servants, but rarely purged them en masse and in public. Trump told staff after his impeachment acquittal that he felt surrounded by "snakes" and "bad people" he wanted ousted.
- Other presidents plugged loyalists into key jobs — but rarely made that the prerequisite. To run the powerful presidential personnel office, Trump last week tapped John McEntee, 29, who has no experience in staffing governments, and was fired by his former chief of staff John Kelly — but is a favorite of the family.
- Other presidents pardoned criminals — but never in a big batch in the middle of a re-election race, after getting lobbied on TV. Trump's 11 pardons and commutations this week included Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat and former Illinois governor whose wife, Patti, had appealed to Trump on Fox News. Blagojevich told cameras that he's now a "Trumpocrat."
- Other presidents pressured their Justice Department, but never so nakedly and publicly. Trump, asked this week if he agreed with Attorney General Bill Barr that White House tweets made it impossible to do the job, said: "I do agree with that. I think that’s true. ... I'm allowed to be totally involved. I'm actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country."
Q I just wanted to follow up on my colleague’s question about Russian interference. Can you pledge to the American people that you will not accept any foreign assistance in the upcoming election?
And on this idea of a purge in your administration, there was recently the departure of your Acting DNI, Joseph Maguire. You replaced him with your Ambassador to Germany, Rick Grenell. Some of your critics have pointed out that Ambassador Grenell has no intelligence experience. How can you justify to the American people having an Acting DNI with no intelligence experience?
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, first of all, I want no help from any country. And I haven’t been given help from any country.
And if you see what CNN, your wonderful network, said — (laughter) — I guess they apologized, in a way, for — didn’t they apologize for the fact that they said certain things that weren’t true? Tell me, what was their apology yesterday? What did they say?
Q Mr. President, I think our record on delivering the truth is a lot better than yours sometimes, if you don’t mind me saying.
THE PRESIDENT: Your record is — let me tell you about your record. Your record is so bad you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Q I’m not ashamed of anything, and our —
THE PRESIDENT: You have probably the worst record —
Q — organization is not ashamed, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: — in the history of broadcasting.