Trump won’t take blame if GOP loses House

Calgary Herald - - WORLD -

•Fac­ingthe prospect of bruis­ing elec­toral de­feat in con­gres­sional elec­tions, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said he won’t ac­cept the blame if his party loses con­trol of the House in Novem­ber, ar­gu­ing his cam­paign­ing and en­dorse­ments have helped Repub­li­can can­di­dates.

In a wide-rang­ing in­ter­view three weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day, Trump said he senses voter en­thu­si­asm ri­valling 2016 and he ex­pressed cau­tious op­ti­mism that his most loyal sup­port­ers will vote even when he is not on the bal­lot. He dis­missed sug­ges­tions that he might take re­spon­si­bil­ity, as his pre­de­ces­sor did, for midterm losses or view the out­come as a ref­er­en­dum on his pres­i­dency.

“No, I think I’m help­ing peo­ple,” Trump said. “I don’t be­lieve any­body’s ever had this kind of an im­pact.”

Trump spoke on a range of sub­jects, de­fend­ing Saudi Ara­bia from grow­ing con­dem­na­tion over the case of a miss­ing jour­nal­ist, ac­cus­ing his long­time at­tor­ney Michael Co­hen of ly­ing un­der oath and flash­ing de­fi­ance when asked about the in­sult — “Horse­face” — he hurled at Stormy Daniels, the porn ac­tress who ac­cuses him of ly­ing about an af­fair.

Asked if it was ap­pro­pri­ate to in­sult a woman’s ap­pear­ance, Trump re­sponded, “You can take it any way you want.”

The 40-minute in­ter­view came as Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was be­ing urged to pres­sure Saudi Ara­bia to ac­count for the dis­ap­pear­ance of jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi. In­stead, Trump of­fered a de­fence for the U.S. ally, warn­ing against a rush to judg­ment, like with what hap­pened with his Supreme Court nom­i­nee, Brett Ka­vanaugh.

“Well, I think we have to find out what hap­pened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty un­til proven in­no­cent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Jus­tice Ka­vanaugh. And he was in­no­cent all the way.”

If Democrats take the House and pur­sue im­peach­ment or investigations — in­clud­ing seek­ing his long-hid­den tax re­turns — Trump said he will “han­dle it very well.”

The pres­i­dent de­clared he was un­con­cerned about other po­ten­tial threats to his pres­i­dency. He ac­cused Co­hen of ly­ing when tes­ti­fy­ing un­der oath that the pres­i­dent co-or­di­nated on a hush-money scheme to buy Daniels’ si­lence.

Trump de­clared the al­le­ga­tion “to­tally false.”

Trump said Wash­ing­ton lawyer Pat Cipol­lone will serve as his next White House coun­sel and that he hoped to an­nounce a re­place­ment for UN Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley in the next week or two. He again re­peated his frus­tra­tion with At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions over the spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion, say­ing he could “fire him when­ever I want to fire him, but I haven’t said that I was go­ing to.”

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