(CNN)President Donald Trump defended some of the most controversial claims of his young political career in a wide-ranging interview with Time magazine published Thursday, in which he offered a simple and absolute defense of his method:
“I’m a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right. Hey, look, in the meantime, I guess I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not,” he told Time’s Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer.
The discussion for the cover story — titled “Is Truth Dead?” — covered subjects that ranged from Trump’s wiretap accusations to the 2016 campaign trail conspiracy theory in the National Enquirer falsely connecting Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination.
Trump was unrepentant about his charge that former President Barack Obama “wiretapped” his phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 election — an allegation soundly refuted by FBI Director James Comey in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week. Trump defended the claim by shifting its focus.
“When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know, today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance,” Trump told Time.
Trump pointed to a stunning news conference Wednesday from Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in which the congressman unilaterally revealed that communications of Trump and associates may have been picked up after the election by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets. The President, however, dismissed the key distinction between his claim and the type of legal and incidental intercepts Nunes had suggested.
“Just today I heard, just a…