Trump Abruptly Ends CBS Interview After Wiretap Question

Trump Abruptly Ends CBS Interview After Wiretap Question

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Mr. Trump said that while the former president had been “very nice to me,” the two have had “difficulties.”

“You saw what happened with surveillance,” Mr. Trump said, declining to elaborate. Asked by Mr. Dickerson, “What does that mean, sir?” Mr. Trump said, “You can figure that out yourself.”

When Mr. Dickerson asked whether Mr. Trump stood by his characterization of Mr. Obama as “sick and bad,” the president appeared to become agitated and said, “You can take it any way you want.”

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President Trump’s 100 Days of Record-Low Approval Ratings

President Trump has the lowest job approval of any president since Gallup began tracking in 1953.



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“I have my own opinions,” Mr. Trump continued, as Mr. Dickerson tried in vain to ask him for an explanation. “You can have your own opinions.”

The president then ended the interview, saying, “O.K., it’s enough.”

Congressional investigators from both parties have said they have uncovered no evidence to support Mr. Trump’s claims. But congressional Republicans and White House officials have said that some communications of Mr. Trump’s associates were picked up as part of routine surveillance conducted by American intelligence agencies.

The testy exchange was at odds with the image of competence and message discipline White House officials have labored to show over the past week, as they have tried to demonstrate progress around Mr. Trump’s 100-day mark, a time frame the president rejected as ridiculous but has gone out of his way to frame as an unparalleled success.

While he takes pains to hide it from his supporters, Mr. Trump’s public churl is often followed by private charm. Shortly after cutting short the interview on Saturday, Mr. Dickerson flew with the president on Air Force One and then had dinner with him, according to a person with knowledge of the interaction.

“I love your show,” he said sarcastically to Mr. Dickerson at one point in the interview. “I call it ‘Deface the Nation.’”

On Monday, the White House reverted to a less subtle way of delivering its message, releasing a campaign advertisement declaring his administration’s beginning a triumph, and questioning the way the press has covered him.

The 30-second television ad and a series of more targeted versions that are to run online were the latest examples of Mr. Trump’s extraordinarily early return to campaigning at a point when most presidents would be spending their time pushing through their highest legislative priorities.

“America has rarely seen such success,” the narrator says in the ad, listing the confirmation of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, companies investing in jobs in the United States, the elimination of “regulations that kill American jobs” and the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“You wouldn’t know it from watching the news,” the narrator adds, showing the faces of anchors for mainstream news broadcasters as the words “FAKE NEWS” flash across the screen in large red letters.

The ad also mentions “the biggest tax cut plan in history,” without mentioning that Mr. Trump has yet to offer any legislation — or even a set of policy prescriptions — for reordering the tax code to achieve the enormous cuts for businesses and individuals that he has endorsed.

It also does not mention Mr. Trump’s failed attempt to push through a health care overhaul, after having vowed that the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act would be his earliest priority. Nor is there any reference to his attempts to crack down on illegal immigration, which have largely stalled.

Congress has refused to provide any money for the border wall that was his most talked-about campaign promise, and courts have blocked two of his efforts to bar travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries and to defund so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to help the federal authorities track and deport illegal immigrants.

The TV advertisement was paid for by Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, for which he filed papers in January, on the day he was sworn in. The campaign said it would spend $1.5 million to air the ad across the country, a relatively small sum that does not indicate a major national public relations offensive.

But airing the ad underscored Mr. Trump’s remarkably early return to partisan politics, a strategy that has included a series of re-election campaign rallies that began only weeks into his presidency.

The latest such gathering was in Harrisburg, timed to coincide with the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Yet even as he gleefully snubbed it, Mr. Trump offered an exclusive interview to the association’s president, Jeff Mason of Reuters. It was arguably the most telling of the dozen or so sit-downs the president conducted.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Mr. Trump told Reuters in an interview just before the dinner. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

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