Billionaire Zell Says Trump 'Cacophony' Doesn't Make Him Unfit

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor Sam Zell said he’s concerned about the “cacophony” surrounding President Donald Trump, but that none of the revelations this week suggest that Trump is unfit to hold office.

“I’m a citizen of the United States and I’m counting on the president to be a leader,” Zell said in an interview on Bloomberg Television from the SkyBridge Alternatives conference in Las Vegas. “I think the president has the competence, and all this unfit-for-office stuff is a bunch of stuff.”

Zell, a real estate investor and founder of Chicago-based Equity Group Investments, said he recalls no other president who’s been subject to so many leaks and political innuendos. The volume of information intended to damage the president should be treated with some skepticism, he said.

“I’m not exactly sympathetic with the president, but I am very sympathetic that it just keeps happening,” Zell said.

The White House is on the defensive after contents of a memo written by James Comey when he was FBI director surfaced on Tuesday, alleging that Trump asked him to drop an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia. Democrats have said Trump’s request amounts to obstruction of justice, while Republicans are demanding information from the administration.

Trump’s staff was already trying to contain damage over Comey’s firing a week ago, and a report Monday that the president disclosed sensitive intelligence to Russian officials.

Zell said that Comey’s memo -- written to himself after a meeting with the president in February -- and other leaked details shouldn’t be treated as indisputable.

“The reality is I don’t know, you don’t know and everything is being put out there as though it’s the Holy Grail,” Zell said. “I don’t think that’s a valid assumption.”

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