CNN host Jake Tapper dressed down President Donald Trump after a series of public blunders that have damaged the White House’s credibility.
Tapper opened a monologue on his program, “The Lead,” on Thursday recapping the drama around Trump’s suggestion that there were “tapes” of his conversations with FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired on May 9.
Trump’s admission came one day before a deadline on which he had been ordered to produce whatever such recordings he might have.
Tapper questioned why Trump tweeted the veiled threat at all. “Was it bluster? Witness intimidation? A desire to pressure Comey to be as truthful as possible,” Tapper asked.
The newsman echoed political observers who suggested that Trump’s tweets appear to have backfired spectacularly.
Trump’s social-media missives prompted Comey to share with an associate a memo documenting Trump’s request that the FBI “let go” of its investigation into his ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn. That associate then shared the memo with The New York Times.
The story ultimately led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special prosecutor Robert Mueller to lead the Trump-Russia investigation, which has since expanded to include an obstruction of justice inquiry into Trump himself.
“Not a great strategy, President Trump,” Tapper quipped, before ripping the White House for banning cameras and live audio during press briefings in recent days, including on Thursday.
Tapper characterised those muzzled press briefings as the White House’s attempt to avoid having to “go on TV live and defend aberrant behaviour on Twitter or explain the false things the president says.”
“This is part and parcel of a White House trying to operate in something close to an accountability free zone,” Tapper said.
Watch the segment below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.