Chopper pressers are the best pressers. President Trump stopped to talk to the assembled media as he departed from the South Lawn. The majority of questions and comments surround the Mueller testimony. [Video and Transcript Below]
UPDATE: Transcript Added
[Transcript] – Q Mr. President, what’s your reaction to the testimony?
THE PRESIDENT: So we had a very good day today. The Republican Party, our country — there was no defense of what Robert Mueller was trying to defend, in all fairness to Robert Mueller. Whether his performance was a bad one or a good one, I think everybody understands that. I think everybody understands what’s going on.
There was no defense for this ridiculous hoax, this witch hunt that’s been going on for a long time — pretty much from the time I came down on the escalator with our First Lady. And it’s a disgrace what happened. But I think today proved a lot to everybody. In fact, some of my biggest opponents wrote things today that I wouldn’t have believed they would have written, and I appreciate that they did that.
This has been a very bad thing for our country. And despite everything we’ve been through, it’s been an incredible two and half years for our country. The administration, our President — me — we’ve done a great job. We’ve got the strongest stock market, the best unemployment numbers, the most number of people ever working in the history of our country right now — almost 160 million. Our military has been rebuilt and getting even stronger.
We’ve done a great job, and we’ve done it under this terrible, phony cloud. A phony cloud; that’s all it was. And they should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely ashamed. And you know who knew it was a phony cloud more than anyone else? It was Schiff and Nadler and Schumer and Pelosi — every one of them. They all knew it was phony stuff.
And if you look at the polls, the polls are showing it maybe more than anybody else or anything else. And I’ve had my best polls, and I don’t say why. But people see what’s gone on in our country with this whole thing. I’ve been going through it for three years — for three years — all the nonsense.
So this was a very big day for our country. This was a very big day for the Republican Party. And you could say it was a great day for me, but I don’t even like to say that. It’s great.
I’ll tell you what: I very much appreciate those incredible warriors that you watched today on television — Republicans — that defended something, and defended something very powerful, very important. Because they were really defending our country. More than anything else, they were defending our country. But they were warriors, and they’ve been warriors for a long time.
And everybody knew it was a hoax, especially the Democrats. I wish we could be a fly on the wall in those rooms where the Democrats would go in and talk before and after meetings, and they’d be laughing and smiling and say, “Can you believe that we’re getting away with this?” But, in the end, they didn’t get away with it.
Q Mr. President, Robert Mueller specifically testified that he did not exonerate you. Why do you continue to say that he does?
THE PRESIDENT: So, there is no such a thing. He didn’t have the right to exonerate. And, you know, it’s very interesting: People mention exoneration. That was something where he totally folded because he never had the right to exonerate. And it was covered very well by Congressman Turner and put to a conclusion.
We were — if you take a look at not only the report, beyond the report, take a look at not what he said but what he was forced to say. And even your networks and your network and your network and your net- — every one of these networks, they put up their hands. You know, we had a couple of cases with — actually, we had about six cases where they asked our people, our representatives’ television networks, “Please, don’t come in tonight. We’re not going to be doing much on it.” And the reason they’re not: because it’s over.
Q Mr. President, sir, do you regret, sir — two questions for you. Are you concerned you could be indicted out of office? And do you regret talking so much about WikiLeaks, given Robert Mueller called that problematic?
THE PRESIDENT: So, WikiLeaks is a hoax, just like everything else. And all of those problems having to do with crime were the biggest hoax of all. It was a witch hunt. A total witch hunt. And when you saw Robert Mueller’s statement, the earlier statement, and then he did a recap, he did a correction later on in the afternoon. And you know what that correction was, and you still asked the question. Do you know why? Because you’re fake news. And you’re one of the most.
And let me just tell you, the fact that you even asked that question, you’re fake news. Because you know what? He totally corrected himself in the afternoon. And you know that just as well as anybody.
Q He said your written answers were not “generally truthful.” What was not truthful in your written answers to the Special Counsel?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know whose answers weren’t. I guess his answers weren’t. Because if you look, the whole report — you take a look at what they did: Some of the things that he didn’t even know about; some of the things he didn’t even know what was going on.
But you know, in the end, what he did, he actually, probably, came through for himself. The performance was obviously not very good. He had a lot of problems. But what he showed more than anything else is that this whole thing has been three years of embarrassment and waste of time for our country. And you know what? The Democrats thought they could win an election like this. I think they hurt themselves very badly for 2020.
Q Did Donald Trump, Jr. — did your son, Donald Trump, Jr., speak with Robert Mueller?
THE PRESIDENT: Did I what?
Q Did your son, Donald Trump, Jr., speak with Robert Mueller?
THE PRESIDENT: I don’t know. I really don’t know.
Q How do you not know?
THE PRESIDENT: I never — I don’t know.
Yeah, go ahead.
Q Mr. President, are you concerned about what was said —
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, frankly, whether or not he did, it wouldn’t matter to me —
Q How would you not know?
THE PRESIDENT: — because he did nothing wrong. He did nothing wrong.
Q But how would you not know?
THE PRESIDENT: Because it’s so unimportant. It was always a very unimportant meeting. It was only important to the fake news.
Q Mueller said you could be charged once you leave office.
THE PRESIDENT: No, he didn’t say that.
Q Yes, he did.
THE PRESIDENT: Again, you’re fake news. And you’re right at the top of the list, also.
Let me just tell you —
Q That is what he said, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: — go back to what — it’s not what he said. Read his correction.
Q That was not his correction. His correction was about exonerating you.
THE PRESIDENT: Read his correction.
Q It was about exonerating you. That was not about if you could be charged after you leave office.
THE PRESIDENT: If you read his correction, you’ll find out. That’s why people don’t deal with you because you’re not an honest reporter.
Q Mr. President, do you believe that — there are some Democrats who are saying that Mueller’s testimony today could form the basis for an impeachment investigation? What do you say in response?
THE PRESIDENT: They are devastated. The Democrats lost so big today. Their party is in shambles right now. They’ve got the Squad leading their party. They are a mess — where even you take a look at scribe and you take a look at so many of the people that were the most outspoken, and they say this was a devastating day for the Democrats. And you know it, John, and everybody else knows it. This was devastating day for the Democrats.
Q Are you concerned, Mr. President, that after you leave office, you could be indicted?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. A very dumb and very unfair question.
Q Why is that?
THE PRESIDENT: Because if you look at his correction, he took that totally out of play. He made his decision based on the facts, not based on some rule. So you shouldn’t even ask that question because you know it’s a phony.
Q Do you think the Democrats are trying to (inaudible) and keep (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT: The Democrats had nothing, and now they have less than nothing. And I think they’re going to lose the 2020 election very big, including congressional seats, because of the path that they chose.
Now, who knows where it goes. From what I hear, they’re giving up. But I just say, I know them too well. They’ll never give up. They’ll go back into the room and they’ll try and figure something out. This whole thing has been — honestly, it’s been collusion. It’s been collusion with the media. It’s been collusion with other countries. This has been a disaster for the Democrats, and I think we’re going to win bigger than ever.
Now, I’m — I’m going to West Virginia, one of the great states. A state that’s doing — if you look at percentage up, I think it’s number one or number two in the country. And nobody would have believed that. West Virginia is doing great. So, I’m going to West Virginia.
We did have a big case today. You know, we won the asylum case in Washington which, frankly, you should be asking about that because that’s the real deal.
I can’t believe how nice you are today. Go ahead, give me a question.
Q Thank you. My question, Mr. President, is: Do you believe that even though he backed away from it, that you, after you leave office, could face indictment for obstruction?
THE PRESIDENT: No, because we did nothing wrong. The answer is very simple. Nothing was done wrong. This was all a big hoax. And if you look at it today, nothing was done wrong.
Now, I believe what you’re going to find — you’re going to find a lot of things that were done very wrong. But that’s going on now. That’s something you haven’t been writing about, and that has to do with the other side’s — that has to do with a thing called “investigate the investigators.” Let’s see what happens. That’s going to be very interesting.
Q Do you think Robert Mueller did a good job in this investigation? Where are you at on that now?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I think Robert Mueller did a horrible job, both today and with respect to the investigation. But in all fairness to Robert Mueller, he had nothing to work with. You know, you can be a builder, but if they don’t give you the right materials, you’re not going to build a very good building.
Robert Mueller had no material. He had nothing to work with. So, obviously, he did very poorly today. I don’t think there’s anybody — even among the fakers, I don’t think there’s anybody who would say he did well. I looked at your people; they’re saying it was devastating for the Democrats.
And even, I will tell you, the two most nauseous and nauseating networks — whose ratings have both gone down, way down — even they said this was a really bad day for the Democrats.
So, Robert Mueller did a poor job. But in all fairness to him, he had nothing to work with.
Q Mr. President, do you regret not talking to Mueller now that you’ve seen him in action?
THE PRESIDENT: Look, I saw what he did to people — how he ruined people’s lives because they didn’t remember a date or something very minor. He ruined people’s lives.
The Democrats, they took people and they destroyed their lives. They went bankrupt because they couldn’t afford the legal fees, and they were good people — many, many people.
So when you ask me that question, all they have to do is — see how nice this weather is? If I made a mistake and said I was talking to the media and it was a little bit rainy, a little bit overcast, they’d say, “Well, we have to do — he lied.”
Let me tell you, I’ve seen what they’ve done to people. I’ve seen how they’ve destroyed people like General Flynn and so many others — what they’ve done to people. No, I did the right thing.
Q You said Mueller did a “horrible job.” (Inaudible) about the report today. Why is that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mueller had no material. Sure. Mueller had no material to work with, and he did a horrible job. Obviously, his presentation was way off. But that’s okay. It didn’t matter. He had no material. There was nothing done wrong. In fact, things were done right. There was nothing done wrong.
And certainly — I mean, look, I read the papers and I read the press and I read the Internet, and if you see what’s going on the Internet, if you listen to the Internet, this was one of the worst performances in the history of our country. So, you know that. You know that very well.
But I don’t think anybody could have done a good performance. He had no material. It was a fake set of facts that the Democrats used — and others — to try and do really an illegal overthrow. But we’re going to find out about that.
Q On the asylum ruling, what does this mean for your plans going forward?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the asylum is a big —
Q And what are you going to do about Guatemala?
THE PRESIDENT: Say it?
Q What are you going to do about Guatemala?
THE PRESIDENT: So, the asylum is a very big ruling. That was a tremendous ruling today. We appreciate it. We respect the courts very much. That helps us very much at the border. The numbers are way down at the border, which is a good thing. Apprehensions are way down because Mexico has now 22,000 soldiers. And they’re — they mean business because they know what happens; the alternative is not good for them.
It’s also good for Mexico, what they’re doing, because the cartels have been running all of the border for years and years. And Mexico is saying — and the President is saying, “We got to clean it up.” So they’ve got 21,000 soldiers. They’ll probably put up more.
But this ruling today on asylum is a tremendous ruling.
Q What are you going to do about Guatemala? Guatemala. What are you going to do about Guatemala?
THE PRESIDENT: So, Guatemala gave us their word. We were going to sign a safe third agreement and then, all of a sudden, they backed up. They said it was their supreme court. I don’t believe that. But they use their supreme court as the reason they didn’t want to do it.
So we’ll either do tariffs or we’ll do something. We’re looking at something very severe with respect to Guatemala. I’ve already cut all payments; I did that a year ago. I cut all payments going to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. We used to send them $500 million for nothing. For nothing. They didn’t do anything except set up caravans.
So, Guatemala we’re going to take care of and it won’t even be tough. We’re going to do — we’re looking at a couple of different things. One of the things very heavy is, as you know, Mexico has put 6,000 people on that border.
Q Mr. President, what do you say at the — Robert Mueller, he said that he — that lying from your inves- —
THE PRESIDENT: Let me just tell you something.
Q — Mr. President, he says that lying —
THE PRESIDENT: I know, you’re always — you always have a question.
Q — he says that lying — he said that lying by White House aides and campaign aides —
THE PRESIDENT: You mean my White House aides lied?
Q They said that your White House —
THE PRESIDENT: What about his aides? What about — what about Mueller’s aides?
Q He said that White House aides and campaign aides lied and that your answers were generally untruthful. What do you say to that? He’s accusing you and your campaign of lying.
THE PRESIDENT: He didn’t say that at all. You’re untruthful when you ask —
Q He specifically said, “generally untruthful.”
THE PRESIDENT: You are untruthful. When you ask that question —
Q He completely said that.
THE PRESIDENT: When you ask that question, you’re untruthful. And you know who —
Q But quoting, “generally untruthful.”
THE PRESIDENT: — else is untruthful? You know who else is untruthful? His aides. And Weissmann was untruthful. And Weissmann got caught just like he did with Arthur Andersen, where he lost in the Supreme Court nine to nothing. His aides were very untruthful. And they put Mueller —
Q But were your aides lying and impeding the investigation, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: — and they put Mueller — not at all. They put Mueller in a very bad positon. His aides put him in a very bad position.
And if you were ever truthful, you’d be able to write the truth.
Q Mr. President, have you called Boris Johnson? Have you called Boris Johnson?
THE PRESIDENT: No, I haven’t. No, but I’m very happy. I haven’t called Boris but I’m happy that he won. I’m very, very happy.
Q (Inaudible) indictment for Strzok and Page and the investigators that you are referring to?
THE PRESIDENT: So what happened with Strzok and Page, meaning the two lovers, it’s a disgrace because they had a lot of text messages, and Mueller illegally deleted those text messages. And they didn’t get too much into that because he forgo; he didn’t really know; he didn’t know too much. He didn’t know anything.
But Strzok and Page were texting. Don’t forget, they were the ones with the “just in case she should lose, we’re going to have an insurance policy.” This is the same Strzok and Page. So that was a very, very bad situation. What they did and what Mueller did — he deleted their text messages back and forth, probably thousands of them. That’s a serious problem. They shouldn’t have been allowed to do it.
Q How did Mueller affect the 2020 election? How did Mueller affect the 2020 election?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s going to help us because everyone sees now that this thing has been going on for so long. In all fairness to Mueller, this has gone on long before Mueller. This has gone on from sometime after we came down the escalator and I got great poll numbers. Because from the beginning, I was leading. And this really took place sometime right after we came down the escalator — the First Lady and myself. And I will tell you something: I think it’s going to have a huge negative impact on 2020 for the Democrats.