Trump slams unmasking of Flynn, disagrees with Fauci's testimony on reopening after coronavirus
'The unmasking is a massive thing,' Trump said.
In a wide-ranging press interview Wednesday, President Trump slammed the "unmasking" of former incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and said he disagrees with Dr. Anthony Fauci's recent Senate testimony on reopening the country after coronavirus.
More than a dozen Obama administration officials, including many players in the Russia scandal, sought to unmask intercepted conversations involving Flynn in late 2016 and early 2017, according to information made public Wednesday by two senators.
“The unmasking is a massive thing," Trump told reporters in the Cabinet Room of the White House. "I just got a list, who can believe a thing like this? And I watched Biden yesterday on 'Good Morning America' being interviewed by one of your colleagues, George Stephanopoulos, and he said he knew nothing about anything. He has no idea, he knows nothing about anything. Nothing at all. And then it gets released today that he was a big unmasker. So how do you know nothing if you’re one of the unmaskers.”
On a possible pardon for Flynn, Trump said he didn’t want to talk about it. His former adviser accepted a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to lying to FBI in the federal government's Russia collusion probe. But recently revelations – including newly declassified document – show how the agents exceed to scope of the probe to get the confession.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump tweeted a video of the ABC "Good Morning America" segment in which Biden says that he knew nothing about Flynn being investigated.
Trump also said he disagreed with Dr. Fauci, an infectious disease expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force who testified before a Senate committee on Tuesday led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). When asked by Alexander what schools should know about re-opening in the fall Fauci said "the idea of having treatments or a vaccine ... ready by the fall ... would be something of a bridge too far."
“He wants to play all sides of the equation," Trump said. “I was surprised by his answer. ... To me it’s not an acceptable answer especially when it comes to schools.”
Trump also said that states should work to open schools and said he didn’t consider states open if they didn’t open the schools.
“I think you should absolutely open the schools," Trump said, though noting it was up to the governors.
Trump also was asked whether lawmakers should move forward on additional coronavirus stimulus.
“I don’t know, it depends," he responded.
Trump signaled disapproval for House Democrats's current proposal, a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released Tuesday that includes $25 billion for the United States Postal Service and federal requirements that states must meet for allowing citizens to vote by mail in the November election.
“It’s as they say DOA," Trump said.
The president said that the United States had surpassed 10 million tests for coronavirus. He also said he believes the country will bounce back in the fourth quarter.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- More than a dozen Obama administration officials, including many players in the Russia scandal, sought to unmask intercepted conversations
- House Democrats's current proposal, a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill
- Dr. Fauci, an infectious disease expert on the White House Coronavirus Task Force who testified before a Senate committee Tuesday