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President Donald Trump joined "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning for an exclusive interview, blasting former FBI Director James Comey as a criminal and weighing in on a number of other subjects.

Speaking by phone to Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Ainsley Earhardt, Trump said Comey is a "leaker and a liar" and is “guilty of crimes." 

Comey will appear for a live interview with Bret Baier later Thursday on Fox News Channel.

Trump repeated that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia and that "nobody’s been tougher to Russia" than him. 

"You can ask President Putin about that," he said.

Trump spoke at length on a range of other topics, including his VA Secretary nominee, Dr. Ronny Jackson, withdrawing from consideration over allegations about past misconduct. 

Trump lamented the process for his nominees being approved, calling out Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats for stonewalling the process.

"It's a disgrace," he said, adding that "brilliant people" are being prevented from joining his administration.

Kilmeade asked why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not refused to allow senators to leave Washington until judges and other nominees are approved.

"I think he will be doing that," the president responded.

Trump praised rapper Kanye West for recently expressing support for the president.

“Kanye looks and he sees black unemployment at the lowest it’s been in the history of our country. ... He sees that stuff and he’s smart," said Trump, also touting lower unemployment figures for women and Hispanics. 

He said if Democrats come back to power and re-implement the "rules and regulations" that he has lifted, the progress will be reversed.

"We were going down," he said, explaining that Hillary Clinton was ready to add even more regulations. 

The president also touched on the criminal investigation of his longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen, who said yesterday he will plead the Fifth in a lawsuit with adult-film star Stormy Daniels. 

Trump characterized Cohen as a "businessman" and said the investigation is unrelated to him. 

"I have nothing to do with his business. ... I have many attorneys," said Trump, who added Cohen did a "tiny little fraction" of his total legal work. 

"He represented me on this crazy Stormy Daniels deal."

Earhardt asked why Cohen is pleading the Fifth if he has done nothing wrong, as Trump has claimed. 

"Because he's got businesses, he's got other things. ... His lawyers probably told him to do that," Trump answered. 

Watch the full 30-minute conversation above.

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