On Friday morning, journalist Bob Woodward made an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that left co-host Mika Brzezinski completely perplexed, to say the least.
Throughout the segment, where the two discussed U.S. President Donald Trump’s assertion that the phones at Trump Tower were wiretapped by former President Barack Obama prior to the November 2016 election, Woodward simply could not bring himself to call the allegations a lie.
It seems that Woodward chose to follow the White House’s lead in continuing to defend the string of tweets from the president where he initially made the accusations. However, the FBI director and Republican chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees have found no evidence to substantiate the president’s claims.
Brzezinski then explained that, if in fact no evidence exists, the president has lied.
In response, Woodward claimed, “you have to be suspicious, (but) at this point I would not agree with you, Mika, and say at this point that Trump lied.”
The veteran journalist then described the albeit unusual activity at Trump Tower during the presidential transition period, saying,
“I was there in January, and there were all kinds of strange things going on — all kinds of private security guards, people… Anyway, I’m just saying, let’s look at it. I would not close the case at this point. At the same time, I don’t know why we’re spending time on this or why Trump is spending time on it.”
Brzezinski later questioned Woodward, saying, “I think people cringe when the word lie is used, but what do we call it, then?” However, Woodward continued to still refused to call the president’s accusations lies.
He explained his position to the MSNBC host, saying,
“Well, there’s a lot of dancing going on by the White House press secretary, and I agree — the inconsistencies in this are endless. At the same time, a lie is an intentional deception. It may turn out to be the case. In Trump’s memoirs someday, he’ll say, ‘You know, I made that all up.’ I don’t know that yet.”
Brzezinski then asked the journalist to clarify his suggestion that the former president may have wiretapped Trump Tower because of the large amount of visitors. She stated, “It almost seems fantastical. I understand you want to have an open mind, but what’s your advice on covering this in the days and weeks to come? Let it go, because the president won’t let it go?”
Later, Woodward explained that, “Wiretapping the president meant surveillance — okay. Hypothetically, suppose you are the Russians and you want to find out what’s going on in Trump Tower. You’ve got all these people coming in, as you’ve said. I think it would have been possible for anyone to monitor who these people were, what was going on.”
At this point, Brzezinski completely cringed and then cut him off, asserting that, “that just has nothing to do with President Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.”
Woodward then continued his struggle to fit the president’s accusations into a larger, overarching narrative.
“There is an absurdity in all of this.At the same time — and this is the polarization that is taking place, that people look at this, lots of people, and say, ‘It’s a lie, it’s unsupported.’ Other people say, ‘Oh no, we love Trump, he’s our president, he can say anything, he can do anything’ — and I gravitate toward the middle on something like this.”