The star of ‘Presidential Apprentice’ really doesn’t want to answer questions about his Russian influence scandal or his dubious claims that the Obama administration “wiretapped” Trump Tower.
During an interview this morning with CBS News reporter John Dickerson, Donald Trump became visibly perturbed by questions about his bizarre accusation that President Obama ordered a “wiretapp” (sic) of his staff during the presidential campaign.
When Dickerson asked Trump about his relationship to Obama, he replied that the former president “was very nice to me, but after that, we’ve had some difficulties. So it doesn’t matter. You know, words are less important to me than deeds, and you saw what happened with surveillance, everybody saw what happened with surveillance.”
In fact, White House efforts to invent the appearance of evidence for Trump’s claims led to a public relations debacle as Rep. Devin Nunes was forced to recuse himself from the House Intelligence Committee investigation of Trump’s Russian ties.
Yet Trump seemed to think the case had been proven, so Dickerson pressed him to explain. “The reason I ask is because you called him ‘sick’ and ‘bad,” Dickerson said.
“Look, you can figure it out yourself,” Trump replied, getting testy. “He was very nice with words, and when I met him, but after that there has been no relationship.”
Then Dickerson asked whether Trump stood by his claim.
“I don’t stand by anything,” Trump replied, his words turning into salad. “You can take it any way you want. I think our side’s been proven very strongly and everybody’s been talking about it. And frankly, I think it should be discussed. I think that is a very big surveillance of our citizens. I think that’s a very big topic, and a topic that should be number one. We should find out what the hell is going on.”
Exactly zero evidence has emerged that anyone in the Obama administration ordered any wiretapping of Trump or his associates. Experts on federal surveillance activities scoff at the notion because no one in any White House actually has the power to “order” wiretapping of anyone.
However, some of Trump’s associates were reportedly caught talking to agents of Russian influence through routine monitoring during the campaign, while adviser Carter Page has been identified as the subject of a FISA warrant.
Dickerson tried again to get Trump to explain his comments about Obama, but the president was not in a mood to discuss them.
“You can take it any way you want,” he repeated.
“But I’m asking you,” Dickerson said, “because you don’t want it to be fake news. I want to hear it from President Trump.”
“You don’t have to ask me,” Trump replied, “because I have my own opinions, you can have your own opinions.”
Dickerson tried one more time: “But I want to know your opinions, you’re the president of the United States.”
Instead of answering, Trump ended the interview. “That’s okay. That’s enough. Thank you,” he said, dismissing the reporter with a wave.
It was the latest sign that Trump has no intention of ever coming clean about anything related to Russia or wiretapping.
Last week, the president made Dana Boente acting assistant Attorney General for the national security division at the Department of Justice. Boente became the top DoJ official under Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he agreed to enforce the ‘Muslim ban’ executive order that Sally Yates had refused to enforce, calling it unconstitutional. Her position was later vindicated by a federal judge.
The change means that Boente will oversee the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russian intelligence agencies and the hackers who broke into Democratic Party email accounts.
Yates is due to testify before the House and Senate intelligence committees regarding Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn. According to his own filings, Flynn was a paid agent of Russian influence during the campaign and transition, yet Trump made him the nation’s top intelligence professional anyway.
However, Republicans on both panels seem determined to explore Trump’s flimsy charges against the Obama administration at least as much as the very well-founded allegations of Russian influence.
As a result of Trump’s stonewalling, truly independent investigations by a special commission and a special prosecutor are now more important than ever.
Here is the CBS video. Watch:
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