He is treating me “fairly.” That’s what President Donald Trump has to say about special counsel Robert Mueller. Elizabeth Keatinge (@elizkeatinge) has more.
In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times Thursday, President Trump said he thinks the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election makes the U.S. “look very bad.”
“It puts the country in a very bad position,” Trump told the Times, despite saying he thinks special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s heading the investigation, will treat him fairly.
“I think that Bob Mueller will be fair, and everybody knows that there was no collusion.”
Sixteen times during the interview, Trump repeated “no collusion” had been discovered as a result of the investigation, and maintained that Democrats concocted the allegations “as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election.”
“I actually think it’s turning to the Democrats because there was collusion on behalf of the Democrats,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the interview.
While the president deflected a question about a Justice Department investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, he insisted, “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”
Trump called it “too bad” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. While he did not answer the Times‘ question if he thought one of former president Barack Obama’s attorney generals, Eric Holder, was more loyal than Sessions, he said Holder “totally protected” Obama, something he has “great respect for.”
The 30-minute interview took place at Trump’s golf course in West Palm Beach, Fla., after lunch with his playing partners, including his son Eric and pro-golfer Jim Herman, the Times reported. No aides were present, though friends and club members came up to Trump during the one-on-one exchange.
Russia is accusing the United States of direct interference in its upcoming presidential elections.
More: Trump scolds China over reports it is giving North Korea oil: ‘Caught red handed’
Related: Trump mocks Vanity Fair for apologizing to Hillary Clinton, slams Anna Wintour
When discussing media coverage of his presidency, Trump predicted another election victory in 2020 and claimed the press had to cover him more favorably to help ratings. “Six months before the election, they’ll be loving me because they’re saying, ‘Please, please, don’t lose Donald Trump.'”
The interview also turned to the world stage when Trump said he had “been soft” on China when it comes to trade, but that he can allow it when they help the U.S. in easing tensions with North Korea. Trump suggested that may end, though, because he claims China is allowing oil to enter North Korea despite international pressure to isolate economically the rouge nation.
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted he was “very disappointed” over a report that China is continuing to supply oil to North Korea. When Times reporter Michael Schmidt asked him to explain his North Korea tweet, Trump responded, “Which one?”
Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller
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