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Trump's Wiretap Claims Shot Down; Ryan Health Care Bill; Senate Leaders Say No Evidence. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired March 16, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Either before or after election day 2016. That's a big deal.
Number two, this piece of breaking news. Serious new questions about whether President Trump revealed classified information on television. That concern is coming from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff, Democrat, referring to an interview that the president just gave, which appears to acknowledge the CIA was hacked.
All of this is out there right now as we're waiting for Sean Spicer to step behind the podium and answer a lot of questions, including, hopefully, one from Jim Acosta, our senior White House correspondent, who is standing by live there in the briefing room ahead of the briefing.
Let's being, though, with this joint statement I just read.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BALDWIN: This is the - from Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman Warner. This is a massive rebuke on the president's claims.
ACOSTA: It really is, Brooke, and it follows - you heard the speaker of the House earlier this morning repeating what the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Devin Nunes, said long with the ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, that at this point there's no evidence of any wiretapping that was conducted on Trump Tower before or after the 2016 election. And now to have this statement from both the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, along with the ranking Democrat, Mark Warner, saying based on the information available to us, we see no indication that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government, either before or after Election Day 2016.
I think a key word is there, Brooke, is the word surveillance. You've been hearing from this White House over the last few days you had the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, putting wiretapping in air quotes to say that, well, that refers to all sorts of surveillance. You heard the president last night on Fox News talking about how wiretapping should be in air quotes and referred to all sorts of surveillance.
Well, here you have a statement from the Senate Intelligence Committee saying that they don't believe - they don't see any indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government, either before or after Election Day 2016. That - that is - it is hard to get more clear or concrete than that, especially when you have the president, just last night on Fox News, saying, well, that something is going to be present to this House Intelligence Committee coming up next week. They have this deadline of Monday to present something. And you're hearing from the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Intelligence Committee, and speaker of the House all saying there is no there there. So that, obviously, tees up the press secretary to explain all of this in just a few moments.
We should point out to our viewers though, Brooke, you may not get that answer at the top of this briefing. The budget director, the OMB director, Mick Mulvaney, is going to come out here in just a few moments, along with Sean Spicer -
ACOSTA: To talk about what's in the president's budget proposal. So you're going to get a lot of figures - facts and figures from the budget director here in a few moments. Perhaps not so much on the wiretapping. That may come on later on in the briefing when reporters are finally getting a chance to ask questions. But no question about it, Brooke, this is a very clear disagreement that members of Congress have, key members of Congress have with this administration on this issue, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Yes. OK, got it. So budget off the top and then you guys are going to be asking questions on health care, on this travel ban and, of course, on the wiretapping.
Jim Acosta, thank you so much. We'll stand by for that briefing momentarily.
Mark Preston, let me bring your voice into all of this, our CNN senior political analyst.
And, I mean, just watching the president last night on Fox, everyone keeps using the words wiggle today, what like trying to wiggle out of what he tweeted, you know, two Saturdays ago. I mean this - this Trump administration has a lot to answer to. They need a win.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: They certainly need a win. And I think it's really important for our viewers to stop and think about what has happened in the last 27 hours. And the reason why I say 27 hours is that we go back to the 11:00 hour yesterday, Brooke, when we saw Devin Nunes, he is a Republican, he's the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, he stood by with Adam Schiff, who is the ranking Democrat on that committee, and they both came out and said that they have seen no evidence of wiretapping either.
Now, Nunes was somebody, Brooke, who was reluctant at best to initially investigate this, but, of course, given what was happening they did look into it.
BALDWIN: He was a huge Trump defender. PRESTON: In addition to that, we saw the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, yesterday morning in Richmond, Virginia, so maybe 28 hours, who came out and said he has never briefed Donald Trump on any type of wiretapping investigation and he said of course now he has recused himself.
We saw Paul Ryan being pressured and pushed by Manu Raju at a few hours just a few hours ago, our own Manu Raju, and he said that he himself, at least so far, has seen no evidence of wiretapping. Then, to your point, last night we saw Donald Trump extending the story by two weeks, saying you're going to see some information come out in the next two weeks, and we've seen Sean Spicer, the spokesman for Donald Trump, go out and has backed up his boss in that.
[14:05:08] So it will be interesting to hear what Sean Spicer has to say today, Brooke. But to your point, there is so much going on right now. They are releasing a budget that is going to be fought tooth and nail on Capitol Hill. They're trying to get through a health care bill and yet again we're seeing President Trump take himself off message.
BALDWIN: Mark, thank you, just on wiretapping.
I've got two ladies I want to bring in, MJ and Shelby here, to talk on - next on health care.
MJ, first to you.
I mean he alluded to the Speaker Ryan back and forth with Manu. You know, Speaker Ryan isn't budging on this health care bill, but he is heaping a ton of praise on the president. The president, meantime in Nashville saying, hey, we'll negotiate, you know?
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Right.
BALDWIN: To me that's two different tunes these two men are singing.
LEE: Yes. Well, actually, I think what was really interesting from House Speaker Ryan's comments this morning was that he - he did say that he is almost giving President Trump credit for wanting to negotiate on the health care bill. And this is a little bit of a shift in tone in that up until now Ryan has been very Instinet, everyone is on the same page, the House, the Senate and the White House.
LEE: But all of a sudden today, we did hear him say more than once, I am, you know, grateful and glad, frankly, that President Trump is taking on the difficult task of wanting to bridge the, you know, gaps that there are between those different Republican factions who are very divided right now on how to move forward on health care.
BALDWIN: So giving him credit on his willing to negotiate.
BALDWIN: How do you interpret that, that he is willing to budge, he being speaker Ryan? This is basically his bill.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, POLITICS AND BUSINESS REPORTER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Ah, well, it's his bill, but, you know, once it - and it will go through the House, but the Senate also has to deal with it. And they - and the Republicans know that this will change in the Senate. And they're -
BALDWIN: I mean the White House acknowledged that 24 hours ago.
HOLLIDAY: And the White House acknowledged it. So everybody knows there will be changes. There are some things they could negotiate on, for example, lowering the tax credits or making them non-refundable instead of refundable. They could add language to start selling insurance across state lines. I mean there are plenty of ways they can reach an agreement. But the key part is, will they alienate some of these very staunch, right-wing conservatives or will they alienate anyone in the middle. And that's going to be a really tough deal to strike.
LEE: And if I could quickly point out, too, I think just purely politically speaking, when you think about Speaker Paul Ryan getting up there, having this press conference, and, you know, on the one hand he's saying I basically trust President Trump to do this negotiating so that we can get this health care bill across the finish line, but then he also has to say in the - on that same stage that there is no evidence of the wiretapping claims that the president had made.
You know, we are in a situation where the Republican lawmakers are really depending on the president to help them get across the finish line and they need him to be in a position where they can exude the kind of confidence that they want to have in the president and I think something like the wiretapping claims, that makes that very difficult.
BALDWIN: On the no there there, Mark Preston, just coming back to you, you know, to everyone's point, now that we've heard from the Senate and we've heard from, you know, House ranking members on each intel committee, in all of the above thus far saying, no evidence -
BALDWIN: No evidence. No evidence. How does Sean Spicer thread the needle today?
PRESTON: You know, I have a lot of sympathy for Sean Spicer. I know that a lot of people get angry at Sean Spicer and they say that he's going out there and repeating lies and what have you. But the fact of the matter is, he's speaking for the leader of the free world, speaking for the president of the United States, and what he's doing is he's basically relaying what the president wants him to relay, and that is his job. How does he go out and answer what we have just heard in the last couple of minutes and, of course, what we've seen over the last, you know, 24-28 hours, I think he repeats what he repeated yesterday and says that the president made his remarks, his comments very clear last night in that interview on Fox News, that he believes that there was some kind of surveillance of him and that we'll find the details in the next two weeks.
In some ways, Brooke, it's kicking the ball down the field and waiting till you catch up to the ball again and then I think they'll recalibrate. I mean, look, they could surprise us all and maybe there is some information, but we haven't seen any yet.
BALDWIN: And, you know, the fact that the president was referring, when he was talking to Tucker Carlson in that interview on wiretapping, he kept referring to this "The New York Times" piece he kept talking about all this coverage of, you know, surveillance or wiretapping. But when you check this piece that was in print on January 20th, yes, it was about surveilling Trump associates, but overseas, where you wouldn't need a warrant, so how is that relating to his claim?
PRESTON: You know, I would like actually, Brooke - it was funny, I was thinking about this this morning, because we're hearing now from the White House - we're certainly hearing it from Trump surrogates and supporters repeated on our air rapidly, and then we have to correct them. I would be pretty good for "The New York Times" to write a front page story and explain that - that what they wrote on that date is being misinterpreted by those to try to explain away what President Trump tweeted. Whether they do that or not, you know, I don't know.
[14:10:22] I think they're going to square it the way that they've squared everything that has been questionable through the campaign and now the first few months of the administration, to say as I do, not as what - just listen to what I say, basically, and trust me on it. And I think that's what we're going to see them continue to do as far as their strategy.
BALDWIN: We've got an editor from "The Times" coming on next hour, so we'll ask some of those questions to her. Mark, stand by for me.
Let me bring in Tom LoBianco, politics reporter for us on Capitol Hill.
And, Tom, I mean, again, ahead of this briefing, we heard from, you know, Chairman Schiff and Ranking Member Nunes yesterday from the House side. Today, now, we've gotten this joint statement from the Intel Committee chair on the Senate side, Chairman Burr and Co- chairman Warren, you know, again echoing this, we've not seen any evidence, with regard to these wiretap claims. How is Capitol Hill reacting to this?
TOM LOBIANCO, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: You know, this statement, of course, is much stronger than anything we've heard before. You know, they don't just focus on the wiretap. They say this is about surveillance. So this goes right back to what the president was saying yesterday, as they're trying to couch their comments over at the White House.
I was just talking with Representative Eric Swalwell, who is a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and he had a very interesting analogy for the wiretap claims, what they have done. He said it's like trying to bat their way through a smoke bomb. As they try to go through and investigate this, right, because there's so many other facets that they're looking into here. So I think what you see here is, you see the leaders of both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committees trying to dispatch with something which, you know, many people have said is almost needless, is a needless distraction.
BALDWIN: We know there's a public hearing with FBI Chief Jim Comey. That is Monday. Maybe some answers then. Maybe not.
Tom, stand by for me.
Let me bring two more voices in. David Urban is here, CNN political commentator and former Trump campaign strategist, and Keith Boykin is here, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist.
Gentlemen, nice to see you in person.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: David, first let me just start with you.
You know, just watching the exchange with the president and Tucker Carlson and the back and forth over the wiretap and how he was trying to pin this on "The New York Times," which he has called the enemy and dishonest, saying was it - was it tough for you to watch him try to wiggle out of that?
URBAN: No. Brooke, I don't think he's trying to wiggle out of it. I think you'll see an explanation. I think the president said -
BALDWIN: How was he not wiggling, David?
URBAN: Well, he's not - he's not wiggling, Brooke. He's not wiggling. I mean I think you'll see -
BALDWIN: What was that then?
URBAN: It was - it was trying to explain it without divulging more information, I think. I think the president has - has information that he's going to turnover. You're see it come out in these hearings coming up in the next few weeks and we'll see. The president is being truthful. Wire -
BALDWIN: But why doesn't he just divulge this? If he hopes on Twitter and makes this massive allegation against then president, why not hop on Twitter and clear it up as easily as he put it out there?
URBAN: I think it may not be all that simple and I think let's just wait and see if - a week or two and will all be - it will all come - it will all come out in the wash.
BALDWIN: There is - and I'm sorry to stick with you -
URBAN: Sure. That's all right.
BALDWIN: But we're getting all this news now from the Senate, as we have from the House Intel Committee, saying there is no evidence of what he's claiming.
URBAN: Well, we'll wait and see. We'll wait and see. The president may have some more information yet to divulge, turnover. We'll see.
BALDWIN: Keith, what do you think?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We are witnessing a White House, from the president on down, that has collapsed in credibility. There is no credibility that is left for this administration. And we're only 60 days in. They came out from the box lying about the inauguration crowd size. They lied about the subway ridership on the first day of the inauguration. They lied about 3 to 5 million people voting illegally. From that point it's not surprising that there's no evidence to back up Trump's wiretap claims. It's not surprising that Congress doesn't believe the president's budget adds up. It's not surprising that the Republicans are revolting against Trump's - Trump's health care plan. There is no cohesion because there's no honestly, there's no clarity, there is no - there is no credibility left in this administration.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, David, respond to that. That's a laundry - that's a laundry list.
URBAN: Yes. That's a - that's a big brush. I mean I don't even know where to start. I mean -
BOYKIN: And true.
URBAN: Well, it's not - that's not - from your perspective it's true, right? I mean you guys lost the election, so it's you're right to kind of sit on the sidelines and throw stones. I mean, look, they're - to go and say everything's a lie is not - is not - just isn't factual.
BOYKIN: Was it through that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes?
URBAN: Listen, I'm not -
BOYKIN: Was it true - was it true that this was the largest inauguration in history? Was it true that President Obama wasn't an American citizen?
URBAN: If the president - if the president -
BOYKIN: The guy is a professional liar.
URBAN: (INAUDIBLE) -
BOYKIN: You don't have to shush me. The guy is a professional liar.
URBAN: I'm sitting right next to you. I'm sitting right next to you and you're screaming.
BOYKIN: He's not a professional liar. But you don't have to touch me. The guy is a professional liar.
URBAN: (INAUDIBLE) - BOYKIN: At least admit it and stand up to him.
URBAN: (INAUDIBLE) he's not a professional liar. He's not a professional liar.
BOYKIN: OK, well, which of those three things that I said was not true?
[14:15:02] BALDWIN: Let David respond.
David, go ahead.
URBAN: Well, so - so, go ahead. Tell me them again because you were yelling and I couldn't hear you.
BOYKIN: OK, were there 3 to 5 - were there 3 to 5 million illegal votes?
URBAN: I don't believe so.
BOYKIN: OK, so that was a lie.
URBAN: I don't think it's a lie, but we'll wait and see.
BOYKIN: OK. OK. Was there a wiretap?
URBAN: I don't know. We're going to find out from the hearings. But you - but you know, apparently.
BOYKIN: OK. But there's no evidence that anybody has about this.
URBAN: Well, you must - you - did you conduct a hearing in the House and the Senate?
BOYKIN: Was - was it - was it the largest inauguration in history?
URBAN: Apparently not by the park service or by your account.
BOYKIN: So, in other words, everything I said was true, but you just said that I was not telling the truth.
URBAN: No, it's not everything - not everything you said is true.
BOYKIN: The guy is a liar. He's a liar.
URBAN: (INAUDIBLE) -
BALDWIN: The ladies. Let me turn to the ladies really quickly.
URBAN: I can shout loud too, it doesn't make it right.
BALDWIN: OK, this isn't about shouting. Nobody's shouting.
BOYKIN: It's about the truth. It's about standing up for the truth. BALDWIN: Shelby - Shelby - Shelby, go ahead. Go ahead.
HOLLIDAY: I - I think that this debate you are having underscores the importance of Donald Trump's words. He is finding out that his words matter, whether he's joking or doing air quotes or being serious on Twitter, they hurt him in terms of wiretapping and I think it's significant to see the Senate statement say no surveillance of Trump Tower. Not just no wiretapping. Wiretapping's one form of surveillance.
BALDWIN: Because we heard - right. So, initially, the tweet from two Saturdays ago -
BALDWIN: Just so we're all on the same page.
BALDWIN: President Trump, he said, it was wiretapped, right?
BALDWIN: That President Obama wiretapped and then through different iterations of responses, you know, Sean Spicer this week said, OK, we're broadening out to surveillance.
BALDWIN: And then a couple of days ago he said, we are extremely confident that the president will be vindicated. I'm paraphrasing, but when the truth comes out.
URBAN: Yes, I agree.
HOLLIDAY: And perhaps there was surveillance of something outside of Trump Tower. But, for now, no surveillance of Trump Tower. No evidence of it.
I also think it's important to look at what's happening with this immigration order. You know, what Donald Trump said on the campaign trail and on his Twitter account is mattering.
HOLLIDAY: These judges are taking that into account.
BALDWIN: How would you - to her point - and people are making - so many White House - I mean president's words are parsed and measured -
URBAN: Sure. So but you - but you heard - you heard Jeffrey Toobin and Professor Dershowitz on this network last night saying that they were surprised by the courts finding, right, and that legally they believed that the E.O. would stand scrutiny. And so -
BALDWIN: I respect the two of them, but if we're going by these judges and (INAUDIBLE).
URBAN: Right. Well, but - I - but they said no dice based because, you know, look at the court, maybe look at the makeup of the court that decided that. If you think the courts aren't political -
HOLLIDAY: Causing a lot of problems.
URBAN: You - you think the courts aren't political?
BOYKIN: I have the (INAUDIBLE) -
BALDWIN: The judge is an Obama appointee.
URBAN: I think, listen, if you think the courts aren't political, then everyone in this room, I have a bridge to sell you across the river here.
BOYKIN: This last judge was not an Obama appointee, by the way, he's a Republican, and he struck down the first travel ban.
But I have the decision right here. You know what they did. They quoted the president of the United States in the decision.
URBAN: Of course. Yes, sure.
BOYKIN: His words are being used against him because, again, he has no credibility.
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) -
URBAN: Listen - but look - how about this, if it's a Muslim travel ban, why are - there are 49 majority Muslim countries in the world, 49. Well, just hold on, don't get all huffy. Forty-nine Muslim countries in the world, six are covered. Only 15 percent of the Muslims in the world are covered. Eighty-five percent of the Muslims in the world still can travel to the United States.
BOYKIN: How many Christians countries are covered?
URBAN: That doesn't matter.
BOYKIN: OK, that's my point.
URBAN: Why does it matter? Why - why - it's not a Muslim ban.
LEE: I -
LEE: As a reporter that has spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill and still do, I think that if you are a Republican lawmaker either in the House or the Senate, you are counting the number of hours, the number of days that you have had to spend, you know, reacting to the various things that Keith mentioned, right, that were either questionable or that a lot of people raised their eyebrows at. Whether it is the inauguration crowd count, whether it's something like the wiretapping comment, and they're sitting there thinking, look, we are quickly approaching the 100-day mark of this Trump administration and they desperately want to put some scores on the scoreboard.
BALDWIN: And it's going to be Gorsuch, right? The hearings are next week, but it's mired in all of this muck right now.
LEE: Right, or repealing and replacing Obamacare.
LEE: Or doing tax reform, which, by the way, lawmakers cannot get to until they have dealt with the Obamacare problem. And I say problem because right now they are having serious issues getting their own members on board. So they're thinking about all the time that they have spent having to react to reporters' questions about the various things that Trump will say, whether it's on Twitter, whether, you know, we're sure that he's joking or not and they're feeling frustrated.
HOLLIDAY: And it's not just reacting. It's putting together panels, investigating certain matters. You know, the wiretap claim came out of nowhere and now they have to spend time looking into that, having press conferences.
BALDWIN: Let me jump in on that.
BALDWIN: I've got Manu Raju, speaking of Capitol Hill. Manu Raju, our go to guy, I'm sure chasing down some lawmakers in the wake of this joint statement from the Senate Intel Committee chiefs.
Manu, what do you have?
MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, I just talked to the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. That is Adam Schiff. And he said very clearly, he's been saying all along, he does not believe there's evidence. But actually advancing this one step forward further, he believes that FBI Director James Comey, at that Monday public hearing, will say that Donald Trump was not wiretapped by President Barack Obama.
BALDWIN: Oh, wow.
RAJU: The very public statement he's expecting from James Comey. Take a listen to what Adam Schiff just told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think that the director will be asked to respond very directly to what the president has said. His accusation that Obama had effectively and illegally wiretapped him. I expect he will be able to ask that question. There will certainly be, if members ask question about any potentially ongoing investigation (INAUDIBLE) the director won't want to comment on publically. But on that answer, he should be able to answer it and put that to rest once and for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:20:25] RAJU: So then I said - I said, look, do you expect him to say that, and he said, I do. I expect him to bring that up on Monday and finally put that to rest. The first time we are hearing what the expectation is from James Comey at that Monday hearing. And, of course, Schiff may have some insight into this. He actually met in a private briefing last week with James Comey. Undoubtedly this issue came up.
And one other thing, Brooke, Adam Schiff also then raised concerns today about comments that President Trump made last night on Fox News where he said the CIA was hacked. Schiff said is that classified information that the president is revealing on national TV without giving any thought. I talked to him about that. He said he's trying to get more information from the intelligence community about whether this is classified information. But the president, of course, can declassify anything he wants. The question is, did President Trump mean to do it and did he do it in a thoughtful way, as you typically do when you released classified information. So that is another subject of controversy that at least the Democrats here are shining a spotlight on today, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Well, that moved everything forward quite a bit, if he's saying that Jim Comey will in fact assume - rather that Schiff is saying that Comey will say that there was no evidence. That's a - it's a - that's a huge, huge deal.
Manu, thank you for grabbing the chairman for us.
And, Mark Preston, just for some analysis on that, I mean, we've heard from the intelligence committees on both sides, but to hear it from the FBI chief, would that put it to bed?
PRESTON: No. I mean if you're, you know, President Trump, it's not going to put it to bed, or it will never necessarily be put to bed because what I suspect will happen, Brooke, if it continues, we continue to hear more and more voices come out and say it never happened, I think Donald Trump will just kind of let it slide away. I don't think you'll ever hear him apologize to President Barack Obama for the comments that he made about him.
If you go back to the years of the claims where President Trump said that he had sent investigators to Hawaii, that they had evidence that he was not a U.S. citizen, that apology, if you go back to that time when he made that apology, I think it was about 13 seconds. I mean it was very, very quick. He doesn't like to apologize.
But I do think as we're sitting here and we're trying to analyze why he says this and how it's going to affect how he legislates, I don't think it's going to affect how he legislates at all. President Trump is going to continue to be who he is and right now he still has the support of the Republican base and I think that is very key to everything right now because once he starts to lose support amongst Republicans, then I think you could see a change in how President Trump acts, whether that's on Twitter or in some of his public statements.
BALDWIN: Now with that piece of information, that Comey is expected to say that the president was not wiretapped, to put it to rest or not, I imagine it will be asked of Sean Spicer momentarily.
I want to ask everyone please to stand by. We have so much more to talk about as we wait to hear Sean Spicer and how he threads the needle on multiple major news stories today, the wiretap story, the travel ban story, health care, the budget. Words matter.
We'll be right back.
[14:27:42] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
We're waiting for Sean Spicer to brief the press here on multiple stories, major stories breaking today, there from the White House.
But in the meantime, let's talk wiretapping and these allegations from President Trump now two Saturday mornings ago via Twitter. So just about everyone, all the ranking members of both intel committees on the House and Senate sides are all saying, no evidence, there's no evidence of this claim.
So let's hear the president in full in this exchange on Fox making his own public comments about this tweet about wiretapping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been reading ant things. I read in I think it was January 20th a "The New York Times" article where they were talking about wiretapping. There was an article. I think they used that exact term. I read other things. I watched your friend Bret Baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening and wiretapping. I said, wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. I've been seeing a lot of things. Now, for the most part, I'm not going to discuss it because we have it before the committee and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX: You're in charge of the agencies, though. Every intelligence agency reports to you. Why not immediately go to them and gather evidence to support that?
TRUMP: Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency. You know, we have enough problems.
CARLSON: Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it? TRUMP: Because - because -
CARLSON: Don't you devalue your words when you can't provide evidence?
TRUMP: Well, because - well, because "The New York Times" wrote about it. You know, not that I respect "The New York Times." I call it the failing "New York Times." But they did write on January 20th using the word wiretap. Other people have come out with (INAUDIBLE) -
CARLSON: Right, but you're the president. You have the ability to gather all the evidence you want.
[14:29:31] TRUMP: I do. I do. But I think that, frankly, we have a lot right now and I think if you watch - if you watched the Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word wiretap, you would feel very confident and you could mention the name, he mentioned it. And other people have mentioned it. But if you take a look at some of the things written about wiretaps and eavesdropping - and, don't forget, when I say wiretap, those words were in quotes. That really covers - because wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff, but that really covers surveillance an many other things. And nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes, but that's a very important thing. But wiretap covers a lot of different things. I think you're going to find some very interesting items coming to the forefront over the next two weeks.