CNN’s Jake Tapper cut off a Trump administration official during an interview and accused him of “wasting my viewer’s time" as the adviser tried to defend Donald Trump from claims contained in an explosive new book.
Top White House policy adviser Stephen Miller appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to field questions about Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a controversial new account of the Trump presidency by journalist Michael Wolff.
Mr Miller, however, avoided questions about a certain, controversial Trump campaign meeting – one that former White House strategist Steve Bannon told Mr Wolff was “unpatriotic” and “treasonous”. Mr Miller called the comments “grotesque,” and claimed Mr Bannon could not be a credible source on the meeting because he “wasn’t even there when it went down”.
"It reads like an angry, vindictive person spouting off to a highly discreditable author," Mr Miller said of the book. "The author is a garbage author of a garbage book."
Mr Bannon later walked back his comments about the meeting in a statement to Axios.
Mr Miller quickly turned to praising the President, calling him “a political genius” who had "tapped into something magical that's happening in the heart of this country." Mr Trump previously described himself as “a very stable genius” in tweets contesting Mr Wolff’s depiction of him.
When Mr Tapper brought up the President's self-flattery, Mr Miller called it "a very true statement," adding that Mr Trump was "a self-made billionaire who revolutionized reality TV and changed the course of our politics".
"I'm sure he's watching and he's happy you said that," Mr Tapper responded.
Mr Miller persisted, claiming he needed only three minutes to defend the President from "24 hours of negative anti-Trump, hysterical coverage” on CNN.
That's when Mr Tapper cut him off, saying: “I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time.”
“Thank you, Stephen,” he added, and cut to commercial break.
Mr Trump weighed in on the interview on Twitter, calling Mr Tapper a "CNN flunky" and claiming he was "destroyed" by Mr Miller. Mr Tapper tweeted out a link to the interview and invited viewers to judge for themselves.
Mr Wolff also also took to the airwaves on Sunday, defending his reporting to NBC’s Chuck Todd against criticism from Mr Miller and other White House officials. Mr Wolff, who claims to have conducted more than 200 interviews with Mr Trump and his senior staff, said he did not have a bias against the President going into the project.
"I would have been delighted to have written a contrarian account here: Donald Trump, this unexpected president is actually going to succeed," Mr Wolff said. "Ok, that’s not the story. He's not going to succeed. This is worse than everyone thought."
"If I left out anything, it's probably stuff that was even more damning,” he added, when asked if he purposefully omitted positive anecdotes about the President.
Lawyers for Mr Trump sent cease and desist letters to Mr Wolff and his publisher last week, telling them to halt publication of the book or face possible libel charges. The publisher responded by moving the book’s release up three days.
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