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

'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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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