Extraordinary Trump interview "I'm president and you're not"

US President Donald J. Trump holds a listening session on health care with truckers and CEOs from American Trucking Associations in the Cabinet Room at the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2017.
US President Donald J. Trump holds a listening session on health care with truckers and CEOs from American Trucking Associations in the Cabinet Room at the White House, in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2017. EPA - Molly Riley

DONALD Trump has defended himself against accusations of dishonesty in an extraordinary interview and insists his gut instincts turn out to be right.

In an interview with Time magazine, the US President defended many of his controversial claims including that Barack Obama "wire-tapped" his phone.

Mr Trump also said many things he predicted, including Brexit, turned out to be correct and that he's an "instinctual person" who knows how life works.

Speaking to Time's Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer for the magazine's cover story, titled Is Truth Dead?, Mr Trump said he inherited a mess but was doing well overall.

"Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not. You know," he told Scherer.

Mr Trump stood by his wire-tapping accusation and said phones at Trump Tower were compromised during the election, but clarified that he was actually referring to surveillance in general.

"When I said wire-tapping, it was in quotes," he said. "Because a wire-tapping is ... today it is different than wire tapping.

"It is just a good description. But wire-tapping was in quotes. What I'm talking about is surveillance."

Referring to Devin Nunes, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee's revelation that some of the US President's personal communications had been caught up in "incidental" surveillance involving a foreign power, Mr Trump said it proved his claim that he and his team had been watched.

"So that means I'm right," he said.

"Nunes had a news conference, did you hear about this? They have a lot of information on tapping." Mr Trump said.

"House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes told reporters, wow. Nunes said, so that means I'm right, Nunes said the surveillance appears to have been … incidental collection, that does not appear to have been related to concerns over Russia."

While acknowledging some of Mr Trump's claims have been true, Scherer also asked him about ones which weren't so correct including his support of a conspiracy theory about Senator Ted Cruz's father and the JFK assassination.

In May last year, Mr Trump linked Mr Cruz's father, Rafael to JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, citing a report by the National Enquirer.

"You know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being - you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody brings it up," Mr Trump told Fox at the time.

Mr Cruz lashed out at his comments calling him a pathological liar, narcissist and bully.

But Mr Trump told Time he was simply referring to a newspaper article he saw.

"No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he's a friend of mine," he said. "But that was in the newspaper. I wasn't, I didn't say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast."

During the interview, Mr Trump also reiterated that many of things he predicted, including Brexit, turned out to be correct when many others said it wouldn't happen.

"What am I going to tell you? I tend to be right," he said. "I'm an instinctual person, I happen to be a person that knows how life works."

"Brexit, I predicted Brexit, you remember that, the day before the event. I said, 'No, Brexit is going to happen,' and everybody laughed, and Brexit happened. Many, many things. They turn out to be right."

Mr Trump also said what he said about problems in Sweden also turned out to be right.

"Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems" he said.

The US President shocked Sweden last month after appearing to refer to a non-existent terror incident in the country.

Two days after his comments a riot broke out in a Stockholm suburb with a large immigrant population, leading Mr Trump's supporters to argue he had been vindicated.

Meanwhile during the Time interview, as Mr Trump insisted he was performing well, his first major policy test was dealt a huge blow as Congress delayed a vote on his controversial health care law.

The president had failed to convince enough Republicans to support the law, which was supposed to replace Obamacare.

Topics:  donald trump editors picks russia

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