'An accountability free zone': Jake Tapper rips Trump and the White House over repeated blunders

CNN host Jake Tapper dressed down President Donald Trump after a series of public blunders that have damaged the White House's credibility.

Tapper opened a monologue on his program, "The Lead," on Thursday recapping the drama around Trump's suggestion that there were "tapes" of his conversations with FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired on May 9.

Trump admitted on Thursday morning that he had no tapes, 41 days after he tweeted that Comey "better hope that there are no 'tapes'" of their discussions "before he starts leaking to the press!"

Trump's admission came one day before a deadline on which he had been ordered to produce whatever such recordings he might have.

Tapper questioned why Trump tweeted the veiled threat at all. "Was it bluster? Witness intimidation? A desire to pressure Comey to be as truthful as possible," Tapper asked.

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CAMBRIDGE, MA - DECEMBER 01: Jake Tapper, of CNN's State of the Union, speaks to a crowd at the Harvard Institute of Politics Forum before Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook enter the room for an event titled 'War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016' on December 1, 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 10: CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper is interviewed during the SxSW Conference at the Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jim Bennett/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 472 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Jake Tapper during an interview with host Seth Meyers on January 16, 2017 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC)
US President Barack Obama participates in a CNN Town Hall meeting with Jake Tapper with members of the US Army at Fort Lee, Virginia, September 28, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0433 -- Pictured: Journalist Jake Tapper during an interview on October 10, 2016 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Jake Tapper listens while sitting in an a panel with Hugh Hewitt, Ted Koppel and Jonathan Alter to discuss the 2016 presidential race with Jonathan Alter on his show, 'Alter Family Politics' at Quicken Loans Arena on July 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: (L-R) Jennifer Marie Brown, Jake Tapper, Seth Meyers and Alexi Ashe Meyers attend the Museum of the Moving Image honoring Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and Seth Meyers at St. Regis Hotel on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: CNN Anchor Jake Tapper speaks at the Museum of the Moving Image honoring Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and Seth Meyers at St. Regis Hotel on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: TV personality Jake Tapper attends the Museum Of The Moving Image Honors Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos And Seth Meyers at St. Regis Hotel on June 20, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 18: Jake Tapper and Dana Bash appear on stage during Turner Upfront 2016 show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 16: Jake Tapper is the Chief Washington Correspondent for CNN, and anchor of the CNN weekday television news show The Lead, May 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Tapper's CNN office is decorated with posters from loosing U.S. Presidential campaigns over the decades. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: CNN anchor Jake Tapper poses for a photo during the 2016 CNN Correspondents' Brunch at the Longview gallery in Washington, DC on May 1, 2016. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, CNN anchor Jake Tapper and Ed OKeefe, Vice President of CNN Politics attend CNN Politics On Tap at Double Barrel Roadhouse at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino on December 14, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 25865_003 (Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - Emmy Award-nominated 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight (11:35 p.m. - 12:41 a.m., ET), packed with hilarious comedy bits and features a diverse lineup of guests including celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects. The guests for TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 included actor John Stamos ('Grandfathered'), journalist Jake Tapper (CNN's first Republican U.S. presidential debate) and musical guest Cold War Kids. (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Charles Barkley and Jake Tapper attend the Turner Upfront 2015 at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015 in New York City. 25201_002_KM_0619.JPG (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Turner )
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 19: Chairman and CEO of Turner John Martin (L) and journalist Jake Tapper attend the Turner Upfront 2016 green room at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on May 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26: Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper attend the CNN Correspondents' Brunch at Toolbox Studio on April 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Jake Tapper (L) and Jennifer Tapper attend the Atlantic Private Dinner on April 24, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
Television journalist Jake Tapper poses at the premiere of new television series 'Madam Secretary' in Washington on September 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0057 -- Pictured: (l-r) Journalist Jake Tapper draws a caricature of host Seth Meyers during an interview on June 9, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Jennifer Tapper and Jake Tapper attend the 46th Annual Meridian Ball at Meridian International Center on October 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Meridian International Center)
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The newsman echoed political observers who suggested that Trump's tweets appear to have backfired spectacularly.

Trump's social-media missives prompted Comey to share with an associate a memo documenting Trump's request that the FBI "let go" of its investigation into his ousted national security adviser, Michael Flynn. That associate then shared the memo with The New York Times.

The story ultimately led Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special prosecutor Robert Mueller to lead the Trump-Russia investigation, which has since expanded to include an obstruction of justice inquiry into Trump himself.

"Not a great strategy, President Trump," Tapper quipped, before ripping the White House for banning cameras and live audio during press briefings in recent days, including on Thursday.

Tapper characterized those muzzled press briefings as the White House's attempt to avoid having to "go on TV live and defend aberrant behavior on Twitter or explain the false things the president says."

"This is part and parcel of a White House trying to operate in something close to an accountability free zone," Tapper said.

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SEE ALSO: Trump admits he doesn't have 'tapes' of his conversations with James Comey

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