In an interview that was broadcast on Monday, President Donald Trump was badgered by CBS anchor John Dickerson about claims that Barack Obama had ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election. Trump also spoke to his relationship with the previous occupant of the White House, Barack Obama.
When Dickerson broached the topic of the surveillance, Trump said of Obama, “Well, he was very nice to me, but after that we’ve had some difficulties.” Trump said, “So, it doesn’t matter. You know, words are less important to me than deeds. And you saw what happened with surveillance and everybody saw what happened with surveillance.”
“Difficulties, how?” interjected Dickerson.
“Well, you saw what happened with surveillance and I think that was inappropriate,” Trump answered.
“What does that mean, sir?”
“You can figure that out yourself.”
When Dickerson pressed him, Trump held his ground, even while simultaneously claiming, “I don’t stand by anything,” with respect to his past accusations.
“Well, the reason I ask is because you called him ‘sick’ and ‘bad,’” Dickerson said, repeating language Trump used on Twitter to describe Obama.
“Look, you can figure it out yourself,” Trump replied. “He was very nice to me with words, but, and when I was with him, but after that there has been no relationship.”
“But you stand by that claim about him?”
“I don’t stand by anything,” the president said. “You can take it the way you want. I think our side’s been proven very strongly and everybody’s talking about it. And frankly, it should be discussed. I think that is a very big surveillance of our citizens. I think that’s a very big topic. And it’s a topic that should be No. 1, and we should find out what the hell is going on.”
The conversation continued. "You're the president of the United States," Dickerson said. "You said he was 'sick and bad' because he had taped you."
"You can take it any way you want," Trump said. "I'm asking you," Dickerson said, "because you don't want it to be fake news. I want to hear it from President Trump."
Trump told Dickerson to draw his own conclusions. "But I want to know your opinions," Dickerson said. "You're the president of the United States."
“Because I have my own opinions; you can have your own opinions,” said Trump. In the end, the president said, "OK, it's enough. Thank you. Thank you very much," and terminated the interview.
On "CBS This Morning" on Monday, Dickerson alleged that Trump wanted him to leave at that point in the conversation. "I think it was pretty clear that I was to move myself out or I was to be moved along," Dickerson said.
In March, Trump said he was vindicated by a claim made by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) that intelligence agencies may have incidentally captured information about Trump's transition associates. during the transition — though Nunes' statement differed significantly from Trump's assertion.