Trump Defends His Obama Wiretapping Claims By Saying "I Don't Stand By Anything"
It should come as little surprise to anyone following Donald Trump's presidential career to learn that he ended an interview on Monday after being asked a question he doesn't like. But what is somewhat more shocking is that Trump appeared to refuse backing his own wiretapping claims, despite regularly touting them, including in the interview in question.
When asked by CBS News reporter John Dickerson whether he still stands by his repeated and unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, Trump gave a bizarre answer:
I don't stand by anything. I just — you can take it the way you want. I think our side's been proven very strongly. And everybody's talking about it. And frankly it should be discussed. I think that is a very big surveillance of our citizens. I think it's a very big topic. And it's a topic that should be number one. And we should find out what the hell is going on.
Trump's assertion that he doesn't "stand by anything" flies directly in the face of everything else he said in the interview — even the comments directly after, which appear to be fumbling attempts to push his claim that Obama had his campaign wiretapped. Those claims have been famously refuted by FBI Director James Comey, the Senate and House intelligence committees, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, but Trump seems to be doubling down on them — while turning down the chance to back them at the same time.
Trump's apparent refusal to stand by his wiretapping claim came during a tense part of the interview exchange, in which Dickerson asked Trump about his relationship with Obama and received some interesting answers. Trump spoke of Obama's kindness "with words" when speaking to him, but promptly switched gears and mentioned "what happened with surveillance" more than once in reference to the former president. When Dickerson pressed him on what that meant, however, he refused to answer the question, instead telling the reporter to "figure that out yourself."
A bit later in the interview, Trump continued to refuse to fully expound on the claims, and told Dickerson that he doesn't want his story to be "fake news." When Dickerson asked Trump why he didn't want to be asked about it (seriously, it devolved that much), Trump gave another bizarre quote:
Because I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions.
Soon after saying those words, Trump ended the interview. It's unclear what Trump was referring to as "opinion", but his refusal to answer Dickerson's polite, repeated questions does him no favors — and doesn't lend any more credence to the wiretapping claims.