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Trump Responds to Mueller's Comments; Trump Speaks to Reporters. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired May 30, 2019 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:30:00] DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's the institutions of our government working properly, even when we have an individual who has the office who doesn't appreciate it.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's such a great point. It could have gone so differently had it not been Robert Mueller. You know, he's been called at times the last Boy Scout in Washington. Had it been somebody else with more of an axe to grind or somebody who isn't -- doesn't see himself as just sort of a vessel for justice, you know, the Justice Department, it could have gone completely different.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: What -- what -- what if it had been an equivalent of Ken Starr, who held press conferences every day -- every week when he was taking out his trash to -- about the Clinton investigation? I mean it, you know, it would have been a very different political media environment.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And yet look at the outcome. Five convicted associates to President Trump, right? You had two dozen Russians who were indicted. So nobody can say that this was for not, right? I mean you look at how Mueller ended his press conference yesterday and that was once again reminding the American public of just what the Russians did. The president does not talk about this at all. There have been news reports about how this is actually hidden from him, that he doesn't even want to be approached about election meddling.
CAMEROTA: It's true, like the USS John McCain.
GOLODRYGA: Like the USS -- I mean, how embarrassing is that? How embarrassing?
CAMEROTA: I don't know how you --
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: But so revealing.
GOLODRYGA: It's --
CHALIAN: It's so revealing and a good reminder of the president's psyche. I -- we shouldn't get used to that because it is a really telling tale.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, friends, we are turning the tape around. The president has finished speaking to the press on the South Lawn. He's now on his way to Andrews. We're going to get that tape for you as soon as we can.
Stick around, much more on this developing story, next.
[08:35:26] JAB: All right. Welcome back.
You're looking at live pictures of Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews. The president will arrive there shortly. He's headed to give the commencement address at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
Because of television constraints, these are live pictures. We're still waiting to get the tape of what the president just said when he was departing the White House on the South Lawn. He spoke for some 17 minutes. He had a lot to say. He had a lot to say about Robert Mueller, the special counsel, after what Robert Mueller said yesterday for the very first time publicly hearing his voice saying that if he could have cleared the president of a crime, he would have.
CAMEROTA: We, in two minutes, will be able to see what the president said, but we have some notes that -- from Abby Phillip for one who has told us what the president is saying. And it's very hard -- oh, great. OK, I would like to do that.
Let's bring in Abby because there's a line here, Abby, that I really feel begs out for some explanation.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
CAMEROTA: When the president is being asked about Robert Mueller's investigation and the only note that I have here, which is a paraphrasing of a quote from the president is, I hope it goes down as one of my greatest achievements.
Did the president really say that about Robert Mueller's investigation?
PHILLIP: He was referring to his push to investigate the investigators. It's a little confusing, but he started by saying, this will go down as one of my greatest achievements. And he then went on to say that he is going to get to the bottom of how this all began.
PHILLIP: And I think this was the beginning of a period in that gaggle where the president continued to attack the origins of the investigation. He criticized Mueller for not investigating people like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the usual suspects that he usually brings up in situations like this.
But, no, he had no praise for Robert Mueller today. And, in fact, I felt as if this was some of his harshest criticism yet. He was asked by one of my colleagues at another network, do you still think that Robert Mueller acted honorably, and he said he wouldn't even repeat that, which he had said months ago right after the Mueller report was completed. He said, Mueller is conflicted. He brought up those -- that golf dispute that -- that he had with Robert Mueller and -- and it was really, I think, quite -- you saw him being quite angry about the situation, even after all that we have learned and even after all of the fact that the president continues to say that he was exonerated.
But here he is.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We just had news that Turkey released a prisoner that we were trying to get. And they released him a little while ago into home custody and will be released from home custody to the United States pretty soon. And I just want to thank President Erdogan. We dealt with that. And he was great.
They released this prisoner, hostage, whatever you want to call him. He's at home custody in Turkey. He'll be released fairly soon, so that's good news. I guess probably you know about that. Other than that I think things are going very well.
The economy is doing fantastically well -- beyond any expectation. Unemployment numbers are just about the best in the history of our country. Employment numbers are the best.
We have close to 160 million people working today which is more than we've ever had before. I'm going out to Colorado today to give the commencement address for the Air Force, which is actually very exciting for me. It's an amazing place. These are great people. So I look forward to doing that. Any questions?
Well, I think it was the same as the report. There wasn't much change. It was to me the same as the report. And there's no obstruction, you see what we're saying. There's no obstruction, there's no collision, there's no nothing. It's nothing but a witch hunt. It was a witch hunt by the media and the democrats. They're partners.
And it keeps going. I thought it was finished when the report was released. But it goes on. And to me it was the same frankly as the report. And he said basically it was the same as the report.
I think he's totally conflicted because as you know, he wanted to be the FBI director and I said no. As you know, I had a business dispute with him. After he left the FBI, we had a business dispute.
Not a nice one, he wasn't happy with what I did. And I don't blame him but I had to do it because that was the right thing to do. But I had a business dispute. And he loves Comey. You look at the relationship that those two, so whether it's love or a deep like, but he should -- he was conflicted.
[08:40:20] Look, Robert Mueller should have never been chosen, because he wanted the FBI job and he didn't get it, and the next day he was picked as Special Counsel. So, you tell somebody, I'm sorry you can't have the job. And after you say that, he's going to make the ruling on you. It doesn't' work that way. Plus, we had a business dispute, plus his relationship with Comey was extraordinary.
Now, one other thing I'll say, why didn't he investigate Strzok and Page and McCabe and Comey and all the lies, and Brennan and the lies and Clapper and the lies to Congress and all of the things that happened to start this investigation?
Why didn't Comey come clean? Why didn't Comey come clean and say the things that he knows are fact? Why didn't Mueller investigate Comey, his best friend or his very good friend? And there are so many other things.
Here's a question, this is a study of Russia, why didn't they invest the insurance policy? In other words, should Hillary Clinton lose, we've got an insurance policy. Guess what, what we're in right now is the insurance policy.
TRUMP: I think he is a total conflicted person. I think Mueller is a true never Trumper, he's somebody that dislikes Donald Trump. He's somebody that didn't get a job that he requested that he wanted very badly and then he was appointed.
And despite that, and despite $40 million, 18 Trump haters, including people that work for Hillary Clinton and some of the worst human beings on earth, they got nothing. It's pretty amazing.
QUESTION: Do you believe that Russia helped you get elected?
TRUMP: No, Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected? Russia didn't help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side.
What you ought to ask is this, do you think the media helped Hillary Clinton get elected? She didn't make it, but you take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and the media. You take a look at collusion between Hillary Clinton and Russia. She had more to do in the campaign with Russia than I did. I had nothing to do.
And by the way, that's one other thing, if you look, this was all about Russia, Russia, Russia, they don't talk about Russia anymore because it turned out to be a hoax, it was all a hoax. And then they say, gee, he fought back, isn't that terrible. He fought back.
Of course I fight back, because it was a false accusation, a totally false accusation and it's a disgrace and it's a very -- it's a very sad period for this country. And I think in the end I will consider what's happening now to be one of my greatest achievements, exposing this corruption.
QUESTION: Do you think they're going to impeach you? Do you think they're ...
TRUMP: I don't see how. They can, because they're possible allowed, although I can't image the courts allowing it. I've never got into it. I never though that would even be possible to be using that word. To me, it's a dirty word, the word impeach. It's a dirty, filthy, disgusting word and it had nothing to do with me.
So, I don't think so, because there was no crime. You know it's high crimes and, not with or or, it's high crimes and misdemeanors. There was no high crime and there was no misdemeanor, so how do you impeach based on that?
And it came out that there was nothing to do with Russia. The whole thing is a scam. It's one of -- it's a giant presidential harassment, and honestly, I hope it goes down as one of my greatest achievements, because I've exposed corruption, I've exposed corruption like nobody knew existed.
TRUMP: I think we're doing very well with China. Come here, I want to shake your hand. Come here. You've treated me fairly. Thank you. Thank you. Wait. Wait. I want to ask a real reporter's question. We're going to answer a real reporter's question, OK.
China would love to make a deal with us. We had a deal and they broke the deal. I think if the had it do again they wouldn't have done what they did. We're taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. China is subsidizing product, so the United States' taxpayers are paying for very little of it, and if you look at inflation and if you look at pricing, it's gone up very little. The tariffs are having a devastating effect on China.
[08:45:26] People are fleeing the country with their companies. These companies are leaving for Vietnam, other parts of Asia, and they're even coming to the United States because then there's no tariffs.
I think we're doing very well with China, we'll see what happens. But I can tell you China very much wants to make a deal because the companies are leaving China to avoid the tariffs.
China is becoming a very weakened nation, just as Iran has become a very weakened nation, and Iran wants to make a deal also.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Mr. Farage?
TRUMP: Well I may, Nigel Farage is a friend of mine, Boris is a friend of mine, they're two very good guys, very interesting people. Nigel's had a big victory, he's picked up 32 percent of the vote starting from nothing and I think they are big powers over there. I think they've done a good job.
QUESTION: (Inaudible). TRUMP: Well I like them, I mean they're friends of mine, but I haven't thought about supporting them, maybe it's not my business to support people. But I have a lot of respect for both of those men.
QUESTION: Do you think it is fair - do you think it's fair to the sailors of the John McCain that they were banned from hearing you speak simply because (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Yes, I don't know what happened, I wasn't involved, I would not have done that. I was very angry with John McCain because he killed healthcare. I was not a big fan of John McCain in any way shape or form. I think John McCain had a lot to getting President Bush - a lot to do with it - to go into the Middle East which was a catastrophe.
To me, John McCain, I wasn't a fan, but I would never do a thing like that. Now somebody did it, because they thought I didn't like him, OK. And they were well meaning, I will say, I didn't know anything about it. I would never have done that.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the sailors of the McCain and apology (inaudible).
TRUMP: No not at all, I heard sailors all went on, we had a tremendous group of sailors from various ships, it was a beautiful day. But the McCain thing I knew nothing about.
TRUMP: Well I think I've been much tougher on elections than President Obama. President Obama was told in 2016 just before the election in September that Russia may try and interfere with the election.
He did nothing. And the reason he did nothing is he thought Hillary was going to win. We are doing a lot and we're trying to do paper ballots as a back up system as much as possible, because going to good old fashioned paper in this modern age is the best way to do it.
TRUMP: Well I think we want to have a relationship with Russia and China and everybody, and I've said that for a long time. Getting along with Russia, getting along with China is a good thing, if we can do it on fair terms or our terms.
TRUMP: Well Venezuela was just on watch, we'll see what happens; I'd love to see them work out their problems. I understand there are a lot of talks going on. But I'm all for the people of Venezuela, you know that probably better than anyone. Steve (ph) go ahead.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) form a coalition, are you worried about that?
TRUMP: Well it's too bad what happened in Israel, it looked like a total win for Netanyahu, he's a great guy. He's a great guy and now they're back in the debate stage and they're back in the election stage. That is too bad because they don't need this, I mean they've got enough turmoil over there.
It's a - it's a tough place. I feel very badly about that. It looks like they're talking, but more likely they'll have to go back into election mode, that's too bad.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) The Mueller - the Mueller report says (ph) trying to help you and hurt Hillary Clinton. Was Mueller wrong about that?
TRUMP: I believe that Russia would rather have Hillary Clinton as president of the United States than Donald Trump. The reason is nobody has been tougher on Russia than me, whether it's our energy policy, which was not hers, whether it's the pipeline as you know in Europe going all over the place that I've been bitterly complaining about, whether it's Ukraine, whether it's a whole host of things, there is nobody ever been more - more tough or difficult for Russia than Donald Trump.
[08:50:07] Now I have to tell you this, I put sanctions on Russia at a level that nobody;s seen before. Nobody even wants to write about it. With all of that, I want to get along with Russia and I want to get along with China, and I want to get along with Europe, and I want to get along with everybody if it's possible.
I even want to get along with Iran and Iran wants to talk, and if they want to talk, I'm available, thank you.
TRUMP: (Inaudible) we'll be meeting with a lot of the Irish officials, and it'll be an overnight stay and I look forward to that.
QUESTION: What will you be discussing with the (inaudible).
TRUMP: (Inaudible) a lot of the things that were said.
TRUMP: Well I can't because I didn't know anything about it. I don't know who did it. We'll probably be able to find out who did it, they thought they were doing me a favor because they know I am not a fan of John McCain.
John McCain killed healthcare for the Republican Party and he killed healthcare for the nation. I disagree with John McCain on the way he handled the vet because I said you've go to get choice, he was never able to get choice, I got choice.
I disagreed with John McCain on the Middle East, he helped George Bush to make a very bad decision to go into the Middle East. So I wasn't a fan of John McCain, I never will be. But certainly I couldn't care less whether or not there's a boat named after his father.
TRUMP: There were no charges, none. If you look at - if you look at Bill Clinton, that very nice gentlemen who's been so much on my side as you know, his special prosecutor, it was guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. So many guilties. With me, there was no guilty.
Number one, there was no crime. And number two, I fought back and I'll tell you - wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, well there was no collusion, there was no collusion. Read volume one. There was no collusion -
TRUMP: That means you're innocent. That means you're innocent. Excuse me. Then he should have said you're guilty.
TRUMP: That's wrong, that's wrong, no, because he said it - he said it differently the first time. So he said essentially you're innocent, I'm innocent of all charges, and you know the thing that nobody brings up there was no crime.
They're saying he's obstructing something and there was no crime and nobody brings it up. Also someday you ought to read a thing called Article II, read Article II, which gives the president powers that you wouldn't believe, but I don't even have to rely on Article II.
There was no crime, there was no obstruction, there was no collusion, there was no nothing. And this is from a group of people that hate me. If they only found anything, they would have had it, and he knows that better than anybody.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) he said he didn't have (inaudible).
TRUMP: There was no crime, there was no charge because he had no information. Yes.
QUESTION: Do you agree with Louisiana's ban on abortion at six weeks, is that a good law?
TRUMP: Well we're going to have a statement about it and I'm also going to have probably today a major statement on the border. This is a big league statement but we are going to do something very dramatic on the border because people are coming into our country, the Democrats will not give us laws, they will not change laws, they will not meet, they will not do anything, they want to have open borders.
They want to have crime. They want to have drugs pouring into our country. They want to have human trafficking. I'm going to be making a statement probably tomorrow but maybe today - no, I'm not closing the borders, I'm doing something else.
We're going to be having a major statement on the border sometime later today or tomorrow.
TRUMP: It will be a statement having to do with the border and having to do with people illegally coming over the border and it will be my biggest statement so far on the border. We have brought something to the light of the people.
They see now it's a national emergency and most people agree the Democrats agree too, but they won't give us the legislation you need to fix it. Right now when you catch somebody you have to release them.
They won't give us the legislation, whether it's chain migration or whether it's lottery, they won't give us any - and the asylum procedures are ridiculous. No place in the world has what we have in terms of ridiculous immigration laws. So I will be making a major statement.
[08:55:16] I would say my biggest statement on the border, probably today or tomorrow.
CAMEROTA: OK, that was the presidential palooza (ph) from President Trump as he heads off to Colorado to give the commencement speech at the Air Force Academy.
So, he touched on so many things. Let's bring back our analysts. We have David Chalian and David Gregory with us.
I barely know where to begin, David Chalian, because he touched on so many different topics. What was most news worthy to you?
CHALIAN: He did, but I've never heard him be this aggressively angry at Robert Mueller. I mean, clearly Mueller appearing on camera yesterday and reciting from the report that he did not clear the president of a crime, that's gotten under the president's skin. This isn't just wanting a fight, this is an angry exasperated president who is desperate to move on from this and there's no moving on because of all these hovering investigations and Mueller is still speaking as of yesterday.
BERMAN: Absolutely the most aggressive he's ever been on Robert Mueller. He dialed it up to 11 there, calling him conflicted but calling him a true never Trumper, David Gregory. And also saying that Mueller wanted the FBI job, which Jeffrey Toobin has done reporting on this, and says it just simply not true. Mueller was brought in by the White House and the president to talk about a job which he had already had for longer than anybody, besides J. Edgar Hoover, by the way, and the president was saying he was conflicted because he wanted that job and I didn't give it to him.
GREGORY: Yes. And I'm still reacting to Alisyn's presidential palooza. I mean it's really -- it's the only way to begin understanding a display like that.
But I think being so pointed toward Mueller, this is classic Trump, as we've seen him in the presidency, which is to aggressively use shock and awe and overwhelming force against any of his enemies or perceived enemies to try to capture the narrative and to dictate the narrative against this special prosecutor, who he didn't deserve because of Mueller's integrity and the way he conducted this investigation to get to the end point to say he would not bring charges, that there was not a conspiracy and that it's up to Congress to ultimately determine obstruction, but that he couldn't be exonerated.
So it did bring to light something, I think, in these comments from Trump that were Mueller to testify, you can be sure, Republicans will be galvanized by what the president is saying. And they will cross- examine Mueller about the conduct, the genesis of the investigation, the conduct of the investigators from Strzok and others. He will be put on the defensive. And I think that's one of the reasons Mueller doesn't want to testify. He doesn't want to be a political football for either side. And I think that came through here.
One last point is, for Russia, which, you know, the sobering part of all of this, amid all of the screaming and yelling, is that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. It was dangerous. They engineered the use of fake information to try to influence the public. The president does that himself in the way he speaks about it and he is giving shade, he's giving cover for Russia to do it again instead of taking it really, really seriously, despite protestation saying he is taking it seriously, he's not when he calls the whole thing a scam. Russia was up to something very serious and they pulled it off.
CHALIAN: He completely undermines whatever attempts his administration makes on this front, you're absolutely right, David. And this is why Bob Mueller, both opened and closed with this in his statement. This is the actual national security threat to the United States and the president just isn't having any of it.
BERMAN: Robert Mueller said, I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments that there were multiple, systemic efforts to interfere in our election and that allegations deserve the attention of every American. Thank you. Thank you for being here today.
Every American, which includes the president of the United States, who, again today, called it all a hoax.
CAMEROTA: I think that there were a few things -- I mean just all -- today, the window into the psyche of where the president is today, I mean, him saying that he thinks that his greatest achievement -- I hope it goes down as one of my greatest achievement that he will investigate the investigators. I mean that is how strongly he feels about, I guess, getting back at them. I mean about the --
GREGORY: But I think it's also -- it's also making this a winning issue for him in 2020. I mean this is the thing that he understands, which is how to dominate the media narrative. And this argument is his 2020 argument to use as a weapon back against Democrats. BERMAN: He's trying. How will the Democrats respond? Obviously now
they have the president's comments to weigh alongside what we heard from Robert Mueller yesterday.
Much more to discuss as this day continues. We've heard Democrat after Democrat say that the sands are shifting a little bit, the ground is shifting, that maybe they'll consider impeachment where they haven't before.
[09:00:03] CNN's special coverage of all of this continues with "NEWSROOM" right now.