Bush defends free press, calls for answers on Trump's ties to Russia

Bush defends free press, calls for answers on Trump's ties to Russia

(WMC) - President George W. Bush spoke on the TODAY Show on Monday about President Donald Trump's first month in office.

It was Bush's first in-depth interview since Trump took office.

He spoke about the media and Trump's potential ties to Russia. Bush also spoke about his new book, which is helping raise money for U.S. veterans.

Early in the interview, Bush voiced support for a free and independent press.

"I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account," Bush said. " Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it's important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power."

Bush said he spent a lot of time during his presidency trying to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to embrace an independent press.

"It's kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we're not willing to have one ourselves," Bush said.

Bush also took aim at Trump's potential ties with Russia.

"I think we all need answers. Whether or not a special prosecutor is the right way to go or not, you're talking to the wrong guy," Bush said after asked it he thinks a special prosecutor should investigate the scandal involving Russian hackers who tried to intervene in the election. "I've never been a lawyer.  I'm not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered."

Bush was on the show to discuss his new book, "Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief's Tribute to America's Warriors."

The book is a collection of portraits painted by the 43rd President of the United States.

Proceeds of the book will be donated to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit organization that helps post-Sept. 11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.

"I want to sell a lot of books to raise money for helping our vets," he said, expressing "great pride" in getting to know the veterans he featured in the book, including four who appeared with him on TODAY.

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