Cuomo Asks If Trump Could Be 'Toxic to His Own Government'

On CNN's New Day Tuesday, co-host Chris Cuomo questioned if President Donald Trump will be able to overcome attacks on his credibility and the investigations that surround him and his team. His assertion comes in the midst of polls placing Trump's approval rating below 40 percent nationwide, with 80 percent of support among his fellow Republicans. 

"But you have to look at what he cares about right now," Cuomo said. "What he cares about right now are motivating his agenda, right? So how much do you think these attacks on his credibility and the stain of the investigation, do you think there's a legit concern that it could make him toxic to his own in the government?" 

Apparently, Cuomo thinks Trump will be doomed due to the FBI investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to hack the Democratic National Committee through Wikileaks, and his unproven assertion that former President Barack Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 election.

Before Cuomo's assumption CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, "You know, there's a word for Donald Trump. And that word is "President. And when you're president, you still have a lot of power...So, you know, I think this is a bad -- it was a very bad day. This is a very perilous situation for him."

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"This is not something any one president would want. But I think, you know, the obituaries for the Trump Presidency should not be written yet, by any means," he added.

CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez added that in addition to the Trump administration impatiently awaiting the results of both intelligence and FBI investigations related to the Trump team, including whether the campaign colluded with Russia, the White House has vacancies that have yet to be filled. "Now, as part of this, I think one of the most important parts for the White House and this president to do is to fill their administration," Perez said. "They have so many jobs that they have not filled, that could help the President manage all of this. They could get more competent people in places, including messaging. You know, there's a lot more that they can do to try to handle this situation." As of February 25, Trump has yet to fill 1,987 vacancies.

Here is the March 21st exchange:

New Day

03/21/2017

6:18:10 AM – 6:23:53 AM [5 min., 43 sec.]

CHRIS CUOMO: The first hundred days. Imagine having to be subjected, as president of the united States, to the head of the FBI saying, you're under investigation for any potential connections to what happened with Russian interference. And then just to hear the thing you said, that you were wiretapped by the president, is untrue, from the head of the NSA and from the director of the FBI. 

CAMEROTA: It was a big day. 

CUOMO: That is a tough day. What's it going to mean? Let's bring back our panel, Evan Perez, Jeffrey Toobin, Salena Zito, and joining us, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. Doug, we need you, because we haven't really seen anything like this before. You're just a couple of months in, and you have the sitting president, a congressional hearing, the director of the FBI saying, yeah, we've been looking at him since July for this Russia stuff. And then the head of the NSA says Admiral Rogers, yeah, the wiretapping stuff he's talking about, we have no proof of that. The stuff he said about British intelligence, that's laughable. How big a deal is this? 

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: It's a very large deal. Our country has a crisis in confidence going on. And people we don't have confidence in is the trump white house. The very fact of the matter is yesterday, the FBI and DOJ have said Donald Trump lied to the American people about Barack Obama wiretapping. And not only did he call -- said Obama wiretapped, he called President Obama “bad” or “sick.” He made an ad hominem personal attack on the former president, which hasn't been helpful. Barack Obama, incidentally, left office with about a 95% approval rating with African-Americans. He's an icon in that community and Trump going to belittle him in such way, how does that help bring the country together? And the fact of the matter is that there is a dark cloud hanging over Donald Trump, over the Russian connections, that's not going to go away. This whole spring, it might go there this summer, so there was no trump honeymoon, in fact, it's the opposite. He has an administration that seems to be shrinking almost daily. He was at 37 to 9% in the polls previous to the hearings, and I suppose now he'll be logging in at around 33%. That means about two-thirds of the country doesn't think you're doing a good job. 

CAMEROTA: Jeffrey Toobin, you agreed that yesterday had some bombshell revelations. How do you see moving forward from yesterday? 

JEFFREY TOOBIN: You know, there's a word for Donald Trump. And that word is "President." And when you're president, you still have a lot of power. Yesterday, he had a Supreme Court nominee cruise through a first day of testimony. Neil Gorsuch is probably going to be on the Supreme Court in 2040. He's got a health care bill that may yet pass the house of representatives on Thursday. So, you know, I think this is a bad -- it was a very bad day. This is a very perilous situation for him. But we have a system where the President is powerful and the Republican Party is still completely lined up behind him. You saw that in the House hearing yesterday. So, yeah, it's definitely bad. This is not something any one president would want. But I think, you know, the obituaries for the Trump Presidency should not be written yet, by any means. 

CUOMO: And those same polls, Salena, show he couldn't have much better support among Republicans. He's at 80-some percent, the base is dug in. But you have to look at what he cares about right now. What he cares about right now are motivating his agenda, right? So how much do you think these attacks on his credibility and the stain of the investigation, do you think there's a legit concern that it could make him toxic to his own in the government? 

SALENA ZITO: Well, I mean, yes. I agree with Jeffrey, it was a very bad day yesterday. I also agree that he has a lot of platitudes to still to work with. Politics is all about geography. While he has a 37% I approval rating nationwide, if you look at numbers in that poll, it shows rural and exurb areas, his approval rating is at 55 and 59 percentage points. He still has a lot of political capital to work with. And I think that what you're going to see this week is going to be a very busy week, with Gorsuch, with the health care, and I expect to see him talk a lot, very strongly about North Korea and just sort of plow forward. And hopefully leave this segment, at least for the present time, behind him. 

CAMEROTA: And you have so many contacts in the intel community. What happens now with President Trump's relationship with the intel community and particularly Director of the FBI, Comey, now that Comey came out yesterday and said that the president is making these false allegations? 

EVAN PEREZ: Well, you know, this is one of the fascinating parts of this story, is actually the fact that the beginning of the Trump Presidency, there was a lot of focus as to whether or not Jim Comey was going to keep his job. And I can guarantee you that after yesterday, he gets to keep his job. He's going to see this investigation through. And it is probably unfortunate for the Trump administration, not something that's going to be hurried up. It doesn't have a timeline. There's no election approaching immediately, so the FBI will work through this methodically. The intelligence community will do the same. It's going to be an irritant, a constant irritant for the President. Now, as part of this, I think one of the most important parts for the White House and this president to do is to fill their administration. They have so many jobs that they have not filled, that could help the President manage all of this. They could get more competent people in places, including messaging. You know, there's a lot more that they can do to try to handle this situation.

NB Daily Congress Russia Government Agencies Media Bias Debate Polling New Day Chris Cuomo Alex Perez Jeffrey Toobin
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