Trump: Market would crash if I was impeached

The president said Americans would see economic ‘numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse’.

Donald Trump (Tyler Evert/AP)
Donald Trump (Tyler Evert/AP)

Donald Trump has said he believes the economy would tank if he were to be impeached.

The US president made the comments as his White House struggled to manage the fallout after his former lawyer Michael Cohen said Mr Trump directed a hush-money scheme to buy the silence of two women who say they had affairs with him.

In an interview with Fox & Friends, the president suggested that Cohen’s legal trouble stemmed from his other businesses, including involvement with the New York City taxi cab industry.

I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job
Donald Trump

He also claimed his longtime personal lawyer only worked for him part-time and made up “lies” to reduce his legal exposure.

“It’s called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal,” Mr Trump said.

Cohen’s plea deal and the conviction of Mr Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on financial charges have raised speculation that Democrats would launch impeachment proceedings if they win the House of Representatives this autumn.

Mr Trump argued the move could have dire economic consequences.

“If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor,” Mr Trump said.

He added: “I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who’s done a great job.”

“Without this thinking,” said Mr Trump as he pointed to his head, “you would see, you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse.”

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Mr Trump did not say if he would pardon Manafort, but expressed “great respect” for him and argued that some of the charges “every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does”.

Cohen, who said he will not seek a pardon from Mr Trump, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to eight charges, including campaign finance violations that he said he carried out in co-ordination with Mr Trump.

Michael Cohen (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Behind closed doors, Mr Trump expressed worry and frustration that a man intimately familiar with his political, personal and business dealings for more than a decade had turned on him.

Yet the White House signalled no clear strategy for managing the fallout.

At a White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted at least seven times that Mr Trump had done nothing wrong and was not the subject of criminal charges.

She referred substantive questions to the president’s personal counsel Rudy Giuliani, who was at a golf course in Scotland.

Outside allies of the White House said they had received little guidance on how to respond to the events in their appearances on cable news.

And it was not clear the West Wing was assembling any kind of co-ordinated response.

In the interview, Mr Trump argued, incorrectly, that the hush-money payouts were not “even a campaign violation” because he subsequently reimbursed Cohen for the payments personally instead of with campaign funds.

Federal law restricts how much individuals can donate to a campaign, bars corporations from making direct contributions and requires the disclosure of transactions.

Cohen had said on Tuesday he secretly used shell companies to make payments used to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult-film actress Stormy Daniels for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election.

Mr Trump has insisted that he only found out about the payments after they were made, despite the release of a September 2016 taped conversation in which Mr Trump and Cohen can be heard discussing a deal to pay Ms McDougal for her story of a 2006 affair she says she had with Mr Trump.

The White House denied the president had lied, with Ms Sanders calling the assertion “ridiculous”, but she offered no explanation for Mr Trump’s shifting accounts.

Press Association

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