President Trump on Tuesday denied he ever directed former Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker to change the leadership of an investigation in the Southern District of New York involving hush payments paid to women who alleged having affairs with Mr. Trump.
The New York Times reported Tuesday afternoon the president called Whitaker and asked him whether Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the growing investigation despite Berman's recusal from the case.
"No, not at all. I don't know who gave you that, that's more fake news," the president responded when CBS News correspondent Paula Reid asked him if he ever directed Whitaker to make a leadership change in the investigation.
Earlier this month, Whitaker testified that "at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel's investigation or any other investigation." The DOJ said Whitaker stands by that testimony.
The president made the comments at an event to sign a directive establishing his "Space Force," but it won't be its own military branch as he'd originally envisioned.
Mr. Trump had wanted the Space Force to be the sixth branch of the military. But Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein confirmed at a Brookings Institute event Tuesday morning that the Space Force will be established as part of the Air Force.
"The president is going to sign the space directive, policy directive going forward that will establish the Space Force," he said Tuesday morning. The directive "gives presidential direction to establish the Space Force within the Department of the Air Force."
The Space Force will be a separate service within the Air Force, with its own chief. The administration is still determining the details of what that rollout will look like, Goldfein said. He added he thinks it's "really healthy" the U.S. is having a national debate on space.