Headlines on Monday about a short outtake from George Stephanopoulos’ ABC News interview with President Trump were remarkably similar.
CBS said “Trump rebukes Mick Mulvaney for coughing.” CNN’s headline was “Trump chastises Mulvaney for coughing.” The Washington Post wrote that “Trump, a self-professed germaphobe, told his chief of staff” to leave. And Newsweek said, “Donald Trump told his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to leave.”
Trump apparently told Stephanopoulos to start over a question-and-answer segment because his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, had coughed during his answer.
“If you’re going to cough, please leave the room. You just can’t, you just can’t cough,” Trump said.
But talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh noted Monday that amid all the focus on coughing, a significant statement by Trump was missed.
Trump said he believes Barack Obama likely knew about the spying his administration did on the Trump political campaign in 2016.
If true, it would mean a sitting president was aware of a scheme to weaponize the power of the FBI, the CIA and Department of Justice against a political foe.
Stephanopoulos said: “You clearly believe there was a group of people working against you. 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, but you’re gonna find that out,” Trump replied. “I’m not gonna make that statement quite yet, but I would say that President Obama had to know about it. This should never, ever be allowed to happen to another president again. A previous administration used the intelligence data and the intelligence agencies to spy on my campaign.”
Asked if he thought Obama spied on his campaign, Trump said: “I don’t know. But hopefully we’re gonna find out.”
Limbaugh said, “That was one of the big pieces of news to come from this interview.”
The dispute is over the Russia-collusion investigation that the Democrats pursued against President Trump. A two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller concluded the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton and found insufficient evidence of obstruction of justice.
The origins of that investigation now is under review by Attorney General William Barr. House Republican investigators found it was fueled by a political opposition-research document created by a British spy using Russia contacts and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.