Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday morning, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman said that aides to Donald Trump have no idea how to defend the president against allegations made in an explosive Times' report on his failure to pay taxes because he refuses to talk to them about it.
Speaking with hosts Alisyn Camerota and John Berman, Haberman was asked about the mood in the White House since the bombshell report broke Sunday night -- just days before the president appears with Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden in a nationally televised debate.
'There are commentators this morning that are saying that this story in your paper, which is a phenomenal bit of reporting over two days and I know there's going to be more, has an impact that is a little bit outsized because of other scandals, because it is relatable. because people can visualize what $750 means to them and their family compared to what it means to Trump and his family. How has it landed inside the White House?" host Berman asked.
"There's concern within the White House that people can understand a $750 figure, they can understand that they themselves don't pay that little," Haberman replied. "And so it is striking to hear that somebody who professes to be a billionaire would be paying that amount of money."
"The White House is concerned about trying to approach this issue with the president for a couple of reasons," she reported. "But one of which is, this is a topic he doesn't like to talk about. This is not something where his aides have -- some aides do -- but most of his aides don't have all the information, where they can just answer questions about this because this is information he has been withholding from most of his aides and from the public forever."
"So this is something that becomes very difficult for them to respond to or to try to advise him on. And he's going to say whatever he's going to say. They do recognize in the White House that the president just saying 'fake news' is not going to be enough and he's going to have to find some kind of answer," she added.