President Trump scolded White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and kicked him out of the Oval Office for coughing during his all-access interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News.
The awkward moment was broadcast on Sunday nationally on the ABC special President Trump: 30 Hours, during which Stephanopoulos asks probing questions about the Mueller investigation, Barack Obama, and sagging poll numbers.
The segment involved Stephanopoulos pressing Trump about his reported plans to build a skyscraper in Moscow during the 2016 campaign.
Trump’s relationship with Russia has come under scrutiny, particularly in light of Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.
President Trump angrily scolded his White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney (not seen on camera), during his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, which aired on Sunday
Mulvaney (seen above in Washington, DC last Tuesday) angered the president by coughing in the middle of an answer he was giving during his interview
Trump has denied that his campaign colluded with the Russians.
‘It was a concept of a deal, more of a concept than anything else,’ Trump said of the Moscow project.
‘It was a concept of a deal someplace in Russia, probably in Moscow, and I was looking at places all over the world.’
When Stephanopoulos asked Trump if voters had the right to know that he was in talks to build a tower in Moscow, the president replied: ‘I wouldn’t mind telling them.’
Trump then brings up his financial statement, though it is unclear what it had to do with the Russia project.
Stephanopoulos then asks the president if he’s going to turn over the financial statements.
The president railed against the Mueller investigation, the media, and Democrats during his interview with Stephanopoulos (right)
Trump says: ‘No, at some point, I might, but at some point I hope they get it because it’s a fantastic financial statement. It’s a fantastic financial statement.’
At this point, the president gets visibly annoyed with Mulvaney, who is not seen on camera.
‘And let’s do that over, he’s coughing in the middle of my answer,’ Trump says.
‘I don’t like that, you know, I don’t like that.’
Stephanopoulos then identifies the cougher as ‘your chief of staff,’ which is Mulvaney.
‘If you’re going to cough, please leave the room,’ an agitated Trump tells Mulvaney.
‘You just can’t, you just can’t cough. Boy oh boy.’
Turning to Stephanopoulos, Trump says: ‘Okay, do you want to do that a little differently than uhh…’
The president then continues his answer.
OBAMA ‘HAD TO KNOW ABOUT’ EFFORTS TO UNDERMINE HIS PRESIDENCY
In his hour-long interview with Stephanopoulos, the president railed against the former special counsel, Robert Mueller, who led the two-year investigation into Russian election meddling.
He also suggested that his predecessor, Barack Obama, ‘had to know about’ alleged FBI efforts to undermine his presidency.
The Trump administration is looking into whether the Justice Department unlawfully surveilled members of the Trump campaign at the start of the federal investigation of alleged Russian meddling.
The president is alleging that Obama may have something to do with launching the initial investigation.
Trump said his predecessor, Barack Obama, ‘had to know about’ alleged attempts to undermine his presidency. Obama and Trump are seen in the Oval Office after the Republican’s election victory in November 2016
‘You clearly believe there was a group of people working against you,’ Stephanopoulos asked.
‘Do you think President Obama was behind it?’
‘I would say that he certainly must have known about it because it went very high up in the chain,’ Trump replied.
‘But, you’re gonna find that out. I’m not gonna make that statement quite yet.
‘But I would say that President Obama had to know about it.’
In April, Attorney General William Barr told Congress he would look into whether federal agencies illegally spied on Trump’s campaign, sparking criticism from Democrats who accused him of promoting a conspiracy theory.
Last month, it was learned that Barr is working with top intelligence officials and a senior federal prosecutor on at least the third inquiry to date into the origins of the Mueller probe.
Barr named US Attorney for Connecticut John Durham to examine whether the FBI erred in seeking a special federal court warrant to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, said the person.
In addition, Barr is personally working with FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to review intelligence gathering techniques used to investigate Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Amid a broad effort to discredit Mueller and the FBI, Trump and his allies have accused law enforcement officials of spying on his campaign and called for an investigation into the origins of the Mueller probe, which started at the FBI in mid-2016.