Dr. Phil Bolsters Donald Trump’s Attacks On Felony Conviction, But Claims He Made “Headway” In Tempering Former President’s Vows For Revenge

At the outset of a roughly one-hour interview with Donald Trump, Dr. Phil McGraw said that he does not endorse candidates.

What was quickly apparent is that McGraw does endorse Trump’s claims that his felony conviction was unfair and orchestrated by Democrats.

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“It’s such an honor to have someone like you see it, and see it so clearly,” Trump said to McGraw at one point during the Mar-A-Lago sit down.

McGraw didn’t just lob softballs, but offered statements of support, reinforcing the former president’s claims that the whole process was rigged. McGraw agreed with Trump that, given the setting in liberal New York and the actions of the judge, the burden of proof ultimately was not on the prosecution, but on the former president to prove himself innocent.

McGraw has been building out his network Merit Street Media, which is a partnership with Christian right outlet Trinity Broadcasting Network. McGraw said that he wants to sit down with President Joe Biden and Robert Kennedy Jr. for interviews.

Dr. Phil’s interview wasn’t all that unusual, though, when it comes to presidential campaigns. For quite a long time, they have been seeking out non-traditional outlets for interviews, taking the opportunity for exposure in friendly settings. Earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris sat for an interview with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel that was largely made up of softball questions as well. Kimmel is taking part in a Biden campaign fundraiser in Los Angeles next week.

The news out of the interview was McGraw’s efforts to get Trump to commit to toning down his vows to seek revenge.

At one point, Trump told McGraw, “Revenge does take time. I will say that. And sometimes revenge can be justified, I have to be honest.” As McGraw pressed Trump that he should take the opportunity to “stop this vicious cycle of gotcha,” Trump said, “We have to unite the country.” Then he noted that “there are people who did some bad things. I know who they are.” Trump then took credit for not having Hillary Clinton arrested after the 2016 election, and even claimed that he tried to “quiet” his supporters as they chanted “lock her up” at rallies. In fact, during the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly called for Clinton to be jailed and used the phrase “lock her up,” per USA Today.

That said, McGraw later told CNN’s Abby Phillip that he didn’t think Trump would follow through on his vows of retribution.

“I actually don’t think he will,” McGraw said. “…It’s a process. This is something that he’s had in his mind that there’s only one way to go, and that is to get even. I think I really made some headway with him that that is not the way to go…I think he will turn this over in his mind and I don’t think he will do that.”

McGraw also has called for Biden to stop the Trump prosecutions, but the president has no control over the New York state criminal case or the racketeering case against the former president and other defendants in Georgia.

“That is not the case in terms of strict law, but I think if anybody believes that parties on either side can’t get together and get something done if they want it done I think is very naive,” McGraw told Phillip.

Phillip noted that “if Biden weighed in to make that prosecution happen, you would consider that a scandal. If he weighed in to make it not happen, why would that not be a scandal?”

“I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a scandal, but I am saying that if you really think that party politics don’t cross state lines, federal versus state lines, that there aren’t meetings that talk about this and people make decisions about what is best for the party, and sometimes that works for the good of the people,” McGraw said. “Sometimes maybe it doesn’t. If you think that there aren’t politics that does into some of these decisions, I think that would be a naive position.”

Trump has frequently claimed that Biden orchestrated his New York prosecution, and McGraw repeated one of the claims that Trump and his allies have often used to make that argument: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hiring of Matthew Colangelo for his team. Colangelo is a former Justice Department prosecutor who also worked on the New York attorney general’s civil investigation. But that doesn’t show that Biden was involved, as Politifact pointed out. The D.A. investigation also started in 2018, before Biden was the Democratic nominee, Politifact noted.

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