Fox News anchor Chris Wallace called this past week “one of the most astonishing weeks” that he’s ever covered during his time reporting on politics in Washington D.C. for NBC, ABC and Fox News.
While speaking with Shepard Smith after Friday’s press conference during which press eecretary Sean Spicer declined to confirm or deny the presence of recording devices in the Oval Office, Wallace couldn’t hold back his shock at this week’s political developments.
“When I heard that exchange today between Jeff Mason, White House reporter, and Sean Spicer speaking from the podium in the briefing room for the President of the United States, it took my breath away,” he said before continuing:
That was what in Watergate they called a non-denial denial. He was asked specifically, is there a recording device in the Oval Office of the President of the United States? He said, ‘I have nothing for you on that.’ He could have said no. He could have said yes. He said I have nothing for you on that. That is a non-denial denial. Look, it may just be that the President is trolling the press corps and saying work yourself into a frenzy about this and turns out it nothing. But why would he do that? Why would he want to decrease the credibility which is already in question of this White House and comments made from that podium? It seems to me that you’re playing a very dangerous game with the currency of the credibility of the President of the United States.
Wallace went on to question why the president, his White House staff and his own letter of termination to former FBI Director James Comey have all given conflicting statements as to why Comey was let go.
“Every step [Trump’s] taken this week has cut into the credibility of this White House, the trust of the people inside the White House, and clearly, I think the trust that the American people pay to this President and to his White House staff,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and I find it very troubling and troubled. I just don’t understand the game that they’re playing because it isn’t a game.”
This week, President Trump and his White House staff have given inconsistent and contradictory statements on Comey’s firing, including how the decision came about and why. First, the president said in his letter firing Comey that he was following the recommendations of the attorney general and deputy attorney general, who both cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as grounds for termination. However, the president later said the decision was his all along and that he had made up his mind before receiving the recommendations.
Next, the White House adamantly denied reports that the president’s frustration with Comey over the ongoing FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia was the real reason behind the firing. Then, during an interview with Lester Holt that aired Thursday evening, President Trump admitted that “this Russia thing” was on his mind at the time he decided to fire Comey.
Meanwhile, President Trump also repeatedly stated that Comey confirmed to him on multiple occasions that he was not personally under investigation, a statement that has been refuted by those close to Comey. To top it all off, the president took to Twitter Friday morning to threaten the former FBI director should he decide to speak with the press, alleging that there may be “tapes” of their conversation in which Comey, according to Trump, exonerated him. On Friday, the press secretary refused to say whether such tapes exist.