CNN’s Chris Cuomo battled Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) over President Donald Trump’s unproven claims that his predecessor illegally wiretapped him.
A growing number of Republicans — including House Speaker Paul Ryan and the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees — have admitted there’s no evidence to back the president’s claims, but Duffy urged more patience to see if any such proof might turn up.
“Why does this make sense to you?” Cuomo asked. “The man who can get the answer most quickly is the president of the United States. He has not done so.”
Duffy pointed to White House press secretary Sean Spicer and the president himself, who each continue to strongly defend Trump’s tweeted accusation.
“When Sean Spicer comes out so strongly yesterday — you’ve aired that clip many times — and Donald Trump hasn’t walked this comment back, it leads me to believe they may have something,” Duffy said. “So I don’t want to condemn them yet.”
The “New Day” host reminded Duffy that Trump never admits errors, even when the facts prove him wrong, and he challenged Duffy to show leadership.
“The birther claims weren’t walked back until it was torture for him during the campaign,” Cuomo said. “But remember how long it took and what it took to do that. That was like a no-brainer, the birther thing — everyone knew that was garbage from jump.”
Cuomo reminded Duffy that Trump was asking lawmakers like himself to defend his claims, in the absence of any evidence.
“We keep coming to you guys to justify these claims because you’re leaders, too, and what we ignore we empower,” Cuomo said.
Duffy urged Trump and Spicer to quickly share their evidence so the media would move on and the Republican congressional majority could focus on the economy and health care instead of defending the president’s ongoing grudges from the election campaign.
“Talking about stories like this distract us from the real mission of making America great again,” he said.
Duffy then started rambling about former congressman Dennis Kucinich’s recorded phone calls with the son of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi.
“I have a concern, and I’m pivoting a little bit, about what our intelligence community is doing with surveillance of Americans and releasing that information publicly,” Duffy said. “That’s absolutely wrong. That’s a little bit different from Donald Trump making a claim that he was surveilled.”
“It’s a little bit different?” Cuomo said. “It’s a little different from him saying that Barack Obama wiretapped the tower, and not only accusing him of a felony, but calling him bad and sick with no proof?”
Duffy conceded those two scenarios were, in fact, different, but then pointed out that disgraced national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador were recorded.
“That’s not what the president was talking about, Sean Duffy,” Cuomo said. “You know that.”
— New Day (@NewDay) March 17, 2017