Tags: Cyber Security | Donald Trump | NSA/Surveillance | wiretap | administration | aides | The New York Times

NYT Columnist: 'Quite Tragic' WH Aides Back Wiretap Claim

CNN's "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 08:45 PM

Columnist Thomas Friedman described as "something quite tragic" how Trump administration officials are working to support the president's accusations he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama during the campaign last year.

"All the people around the president . . . are being asked to burn up their credibility, their trust with the American people, by defending the indefensible," The New York Times writer told Wolf Blitzer on CNN. "The king has clothes when he doesn't.

"We have an entire administration around Trump being asked to, basically, burn up their credibility by somehow dressing this up as having a basis in fact."

For example, Friedman cited Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, who told Blitzer on Tuesday: "If the president of the United States said that, he's got his reasons to say it.

"He's got some convincing evidence that took place," Kelly said.

"Someone at the White House said: 'My credibility is shot. His credibility is shot. Who do we put out there?'" Friedman suggested Wednesday.

"They bring Gen. Kelly. He was sitting in this chair — and he said, 'If the president said this, it must be true.'

"He couldn't tell you why it's true," he said. "He couldn't tell whether the president told him it's true or the FBI director told him this is true.

"This is an honorable man, a war hero, and they used his credibility to get through a news cycle," Friedman said. "Shame on them."

This approach could have devastating implications for President Donald Trump and the nation.

"If you're a foreign leader, what do you think?" Friedman asked Blitzer. "Do I share any information with this guy? Is he going to tweet about me afterwards? Shoot me in the back?

"You erode the trust factor.

"What happens when the president has to come to the nation, look in the camera and say: 'Trust me. I had to do this vis-a-vis North Korea or Russia?'"

The columnist also dismissed comments from some Republicans that Trump was on a learning curve — and his tweets should only be taken figuratively.

"God save us," Friedman said, "from an America when we don't know when the president is speaking factually, literally or hypothetically."

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Columnist Thomas Friedman described as "something quite tragic" how Trump administration officials are working to support the president's accusations he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama during the campaign last year.
wiretap, administration, aides, The New York Times
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2017-45-08
Wednesday, 08 Mar 2017 08:45 PM
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