The New York Times’ White House correspondent, Michael Schmidt, just enjoyed the benefits of being friends with a conservative.
There was no major interview planned, there was no quick conversation on the schedule, there wasn’t even a Q&A time coordinated through the White House. Somehow, Schmidt, was still able to snag what was likely the most important interview of President Donald Trump in 2017.
Well, it was in large part thanks to the influence of NewsMax founder Chris Ruddy who is a friend of the President and apparently trusted Schmidt enough to help him get the interview.
“I was with Chris Ruddy, the head of NewsMax. We were sitting at a table next to the president, so we went up and started talking to him and he started talking about the tax bill. The president thinks he is his best spokesman and was very proud of the tax bill, and I said this is really interesting, why don’t we do this on the record? He said, ‘Okay, let me finish eating lunch.’ He was eating a salad. And when he was done he pulled me aside, and we sat for about a half an hour talking,” Schmidt recounted.
Early this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe they had a larger discussion about the interview:
One of the most important moments in the Times interview came during a discussion on the DoJ and the investigation into Russian collusion:
While the President believes he has the power (or the right) to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, it doesn’t seem like he’s planning to do so.
SCHMIDT: You control the Justice Department. Should they reopen that email investigation?
TRUMP: What I’ve done is, I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department. But for purposes of hopefully thinking I’m going to be treated fairly, I’ve stayed uninvolved with this particular matter.
On Mueller specifically:
SCHMIDT: What’s your expectation on Mueller? When do you —
TRUMP: I have no expectation. I can only tell you that there is absolutely no collusion. Everybody knows it. And you know who knows it better than anybody? The Democrats. They walk around blinking at each other.
SCHMIDT: But when do you think he’ll be done in regards to you —
TRUMP: I don’t know.
SCHMIDT: But does that bother you?
TRUMP: No, it doesn’t bother me because I hope that he’s going to be fair. I think that he’s going to be fair. And based on that [inaudible]. There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair. And if he’s fair — because everybody knows the answer already, Michael. I want you to treat me fairly. O.K.?