It almost seems like a pattern. Whether the allegation of criminal activity involved the Capitol protests on January 6, 2021, the FISA applications related to Russia, Russia… Russia, or the current political persecution of President Trump by a Soros-funded DA whose star witness is a convicted perjurer, there are Brady violations aplenty. Exculpatory evidence, the third rail of the Communist infiltrators in all of government, appears to be lost, stolen, forgotten, or simply omitted to maintain a narrow and specific narrative.

Today’s grand jury session was canceled, perhaps due to the damning testimony of Robert Costello, the former attorney for Michael Cohen. Or, if you watch MSNBC or any other Mockingbird network, it’s anything but that because, well, that can’t be it.

RELATED: Truth Smacks Manhattan DA in the Face, Tanking His Case. Will It Matter?

During his testimony on Monday, Costello made certain the grand jury knew that District Attorney Alvin Bragg had withheld several hundred pages of documents from them. Now, some legal experts and analysts are calling for an investigation of Bragg – and potential disbarment if he is found to be in violation of the Brady rule.

Considering that Bragg’s office unilaterally decided to reclassify at least 50 felonies as misdemeanors, it couldn’t happen to a more qualified district attorney. -Doug Hagmann

By Peter Barry Chowka

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 6½ hour-long testimony in the House on Wednesday was expected to be a big ratings win for the three cable news and three broadcast television channels, all of which covered it wall to wall. Not only did the event under-perform, but so did President Trump’s key media nemesis, CNN, which came in dead last at #6.

The red hot competition for viewers apparently led MSNBC and CNN to add a new level of fakery – both before and after Mueller’s testimony. MSNBC contributed to the “conspiracy theory” that Fox News was planning to black out live coverage of Mueller, while CNN obfuscated its poor showing in a post-Mueller hearing TV ratings analysis.

Conventional wisdom has it that when the news is perceived to be bad for President Trump, Resistance outlets MSNBC and CNN get a boost in viewership. Mueller’s long-awaited testimony was expected to turbo charge the Resistance and re-ignite talk of impeaching the president, although his performance clearly underwhelmed. Still, Fox News, the channel perceived as the most friendly to the president, won both the day of coverage (by its news anchors and reporters) and prime time, when opinion shows are programmed on all three cable “news” channels.

According to Nielsen Media Research, as reported by Forbes on Thursday:

Fox News drew a total audience of more than 3 million viewers between 8:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. ET, leading all broadcast and cable competition. MSNBC finished second with 2.4 million total viewers, followed by ABC (2.12 million), NBC (1.99 million), CBS (1.91 million) and CNN (1.5 million). CBS, it should be noted, is currently dark in 10 million American households because of an AT&T dispute with DirecTV, Nexstar and other carriers, which may have dampened its overall ratings.

Among viewers 25-54, the demographic group most valued by advertisers, NBC-TV finished first, with 536,000 viewers. ABC was second, with 489,000 viewers, followed by Fox News Channel (441,000 viewers), CBS (406,000), CNN (365,000) and MSNBC (347,000).

The weekend before Mueller’s testimony, a widespread “conspiracy theory” emerged – with the assistance of MSNBC – claiming incorrectly that Fox News would not broadcast the hearings live because they were expected to embarrass President Trump. In fact, Fox News had been running prominent on air promos for weeks advertising its plans to cover the hearings live, initially on Wednesday July 17 and then a week later when the Mueller show was re-scheduled.

The details of this hanky-panky suggest a new, down low strategy on the part of a cable news channel to try to depress the ratings of a competitor. On Sunday, frequent MSNBC contributor Joyce Vance tweeted her 337,000 followers the false information that Fox News would not cover the hearings. After criticism on social media, she deleted the tweet, claiming it was a sarcastic joke – but not before author and Resistance keyboard warrior Stephen King tweeted the fake news about Fox’s plans to his 5.33 million Twitter followers.

 Joyce Alene’s Fake Tweet – deleted but not before it ultimately got about 7,000 retweets
 Stephen King’s tweet – which is still online

On Monday, as Brian Flood reported in an article at Fox News dot com on Tuesday, Vance’s claim had “morphed into a full-blown conspiracy theory – and anti-Trump liberals don’t seem to care.” In fact, on Monday, MSNBC guest Rick Wilson spread the fake news during an appearance on the channel and was not corrected.

According to Flood:

Wilson appeared on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” and apparently missed the memo that Vance deleted her inaccurate tweet prior to his segment.

“Now Fox isn’t covering the hearings,” Wilson said during a discussion about the upcoming Mueller testimony.

[MSNBC host Nicole] Wallace didn’t correct him and responded, “Really?”

“They’re apparently not going to take them live. Everybody else is taking them live,” Wilson said, misinforming MSNBC viewers in the process.

TV viewership for Mueller hearings falls flat,” an article on Thursday about the Mueller hearing ratings by Brian Stelter, CNN’s chronic Trump nemesis, significantly failed to note that CNN came in last. Instead, Stelter contrasted the total ratings for Mueller’s testimony with the numbers for James Comey, Michael Cohen, and Bret Kavanaugh when each of them testified before Congress. Stelter:

If Democrats were banking on massive viewership of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s televised testimony, they’re feeling broke today.

The Mueller hearings had a loyal audience, but they didn’t break any ratings records. Not by a long shot.

Preliminary Nielsen ratings totals — which are subject to adjustment — show an average of 13 million viewers across six major networks Wednesday.

Stelter’s closing comments ironically give one some hope that viewer interest in taking President Trump down is finally waning:

When the final Nielsen ratings come in, the Mueller hearings are likely to be in line with Michael Cohen’s testimony back in February.

In a possible sign of Trump-related fatigue, neither the Mueller or Cohen hearings were as highly-rated as former FBI Director James Comey’s explosive day of testimony in June 2017, which drew about 20 million viewers.

Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter’s website is http://peter.media.  Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.

By Peter Barry Chowka

Joe Biden has made it official. At 6 AM E.T. this morning, the former Senator and Vice President, who held elective office continuously for 44 years (January 1973 to January 2017), announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination in a revamped Web site and a 3½ minute-long video. At least one-half of the video focused on the events in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 when a group of racists clashed with a counter group of Antifa and violence ensued. The left and the Democrats have tried to blame President Trump for the events and Biden picked up the cudgel.

The Antifa mob, Biden said in his video, was “a courageous group of Americans.” He continued:

We’re in a battle for the soul of this nation. . .

[We will look back on the presidency of Donald J. Trump] as an aberrant moment in time. . .

I cannot stand by and let that happen.

With Charlottesville as his touchstone, Biden also referenced President Thomas Jefferson, whom he criticized as “not always living up to our ideals.” My thinking: With Biden as president, get ready for a lot of obnoxious pandering including the banning of more statues of the Founding Fathers.

In the video, Biden is wearing a visible black earpiece in his right ear (a hearing aid? An audio monitor?). He was obviously reading a script from a TelePrompTer but was he also taking direction from an off-screen producer?

The new Biden for president Web site boasts a significant number of well-crafted bromides intended to appeal to both the middle class (or “working families” [sic], as the Democrats have previously referred to the underclass including tens of millions of illegal aliens who are replacing the shrinking middle class) and the far left that represents the activist base of the new Democrat Socialist Party.

Will Joe be able to pull it off? Currently, in early polls (which ultimately will count for little), he is in either first or second place among the 21 Democrat candidates who have declared thus far. Their number will probably increase. The months ahead promise to be quite a show.

Thomas Lifson added to my article at American Thinker this important comment:

Biden is taking the low road by implying Trump was praising the neo-Nazis at Charlottesville, when from the context of his earlier words, he was clearly referring to the people seeking to preserve historic statues of Confederates. If he faces President Trump in a debate after securing the nomination, I expect President Trump to punch back hard on this distortion of what he said.

A version of this article was published on April 25 at American Thinker.

Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Peter’s new website is http://peter.media.  Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.

By Peter Barry Chowka

EXCLUSIVE. It was unconventional alright, and the media didn’t know what to make of it

A totally unique encounter between the President of the United States and the press took place outside of the White House on Friday morning, June 15. It immediately made news for being both a historic first and for what was said. At 8:25 A.M. E.T., President Trump strolled out of the West Wing and over to the Fox News camera position a hundred or so yards away on the North Lawn where Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy was doing live reports for his and his colleagues’ morning show that was being produced back at Fox News HQ in New York. The Secret Service kept the mob of White House press back as Doocy attached a lapel microphone to the president and then, standing next to him in the morning sun, proceeded to question Mr. Trump uninterruped for the next half hour. The rest of the press, one-upped and resentful of this exclusive accorded to Fox, was struggling to listen as they were corraled in a pack several yards away.

At 9 A.M. Doocy had to sign off when Fox & Friends ended, but the fun wasn’t quite over. President Trump casually strolled over to the press gaggle and proceeded to submit to a wide variety of questions shouted at him for the next twenty minutes. That encounter was broadcast live by CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. According to the instant analysis, nothing like it had ever been seen before in the entire history of the White House. President Trump was in classic form as he parried challenging, and sometimes disrespectful, questions from the same folks who have been giving his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, an especially hard time this week during the daily press briefings.

Reporting about the impromptu press conference immediately rose to the top of the daily news cycle. With approximately 95% of the mainstream media opposed to the president and his policies, the following headlines in the MSM were typical:

7 absolutely bonkers moments from Donald Trump’s impromptu White House lawn press conference – Salon

There’s an Elderly Man on the White House Lawn and He May Not Be Well – Esquire

Donald Trump’s Friday morning proves the massive danger of [the President] sitting down with Robert Mueller – CNN

I happened to be watching the whole thing as it was broadcast live and – being of sound and objective mind – I didn’t see what all the subsequent fuss was about.

In the interests of presenting the record as it happened, below are the transcripts of both parts of the Q and A: Donald Trump with Fox News’s Steve Doocy, in a transcript provided by Fox News, and the president with various members of the White House press corps immediately afterwards, in a transcript provided by the White House. This is a long read but I think the transcripts are interesting, informative, and entertaining.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON FOX & FRIENDS 

June 15, 2018 8:30-9 A.M. E.T.

Transcript Source: Fox News (email)

Link to video of the entire Fox & Friends interview

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The President of the United States is coming up the driveway in front of the west wing, and I’ve got a feeling this is going to be really noisy as everybody’s got a question.  And there is – oh good, Peter Doocy, who made a cameo earlier is bringing him this way.  That’s awesome.  Every single reporter here at the White House is now heading to the Fox booth.  All right.
Hi, Mr. President.  Mr. President.  Woah!  Over here.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Democrats, you changed the…
DOOCY:  Oh, this is great.  You’ve got some excitement out on your lawn today.  Hello, Mr. President.
DOOCY:  What brings you here?
TRUMP:  Are we on already?
DOOCY:  We’re on.  We’re live.
TRUMP:  Wow, wow.  That’s good.
DOOCY:  We’re actually – we’re on every channel.
TRUMP:  We had a very exciting trip over here I have to say.
DOOCY:  No kidding.
TRUMP:  I was good.  It was good.  How are you?
DOOCY:  I’m doing OK.  I was here for the baseball game.  How about Steve Scalise last night?
TRUMP:  I think he’s great.  How about the play?
DOOCY:  Unbelievable.
TRUMP:  He’s a great guy.  Courageous.
DOOCY:  He couldn’t –
TRUMP:  Courageous.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  Like you.
DOOCY:  Yes, sure.  Having you stop by live.  I got some questions.
TRUMP:  I was mugged by the media.
DOOCY:  They’ve got questions for you.  I’m hoping I can ask a lot of the questions.  They’ve got –
TRUMP:  Very nice people.
DOOCY:  You know, the IG report came out yesterday.  The FBI looked bad.
TRUMP:  Very bad.
DOOCY:  Your FBI.
TRUMP:  Well, no.  It was Comey having to do.  We’re talking about Comey not my FBI.  It was Comey.  The people in the FBI are incredible.  I would bet if you took a poll in the FBI I would win that poll by more than anybody’s ever won a poll.  But the top people were horrible.
You look at what happened.  They were plotting against my election.  Probably has never happened like that in terms of intelligence, in terms of anything else.  But they were actually plotting against my election.
DOOCY:  The headline right now –
TRUMP:  I’m actually proud, because I beat the Clinton dynasty.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  I beat Bush dynasty, and now I guess hopefully I’m in the process of beating very dishonest intelligence.  Because what they did was incredible and a real insult to millions of people that voted in that election on both sides.
DOOCY:  The headline right now from the Wall Street Journal, DOJ Clinton report blasts Comey and agents defines no bias in conclusion.
TRUMP:  Well, the end result was wrong.   I mean there was total bias.  I mean when you look at Peter Strzok and what he said about me, when you look at Comey all his moves.  So I guess – you know it’s interesting it was a pretty good report and then I say that the IG blew it at the very end with that statement because when you read the report it was almost like Comey.
He goes point after point about how guilty Hillary is and then he said but we’re not going to do anything about it.  The report, the IG report was a horror show.  I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous.
DOOCY:  What about apparently the love birds talking about you, “we will stop it”?
TRUMP:  Yes, they said they will stop me.  While in the meantime the economy hit an all time high this morning.  Never been better.  Jobless rate the lowest – best in 44 years just came out.  We’re going to have some incredible things.  We’re just announcing very big tariffs today on China because China has been – look he’s my friend, President Xi, he’s a great man.
He’s a wonderful guy but at some point we have to straighten it out.  We lost $500 billion in trade deficits last year.  We can’t do that.
DOOCY:  Is the new tariff something like 25 percent on –
TRUMP:  It’s being announced right now as I speak.
DOOCY:  OK.  You can announce it.
TRUMP:  Maybe you have the first announcement.  You may –
DOOCY:  What do you know about your tariff?
TRUMP:  You might beat the Wall Street Journal, all right.  You just beat the Wall Street Journal by a lot.  Well, we’re just going to do $50 billion on $50 billion of high technology equipment and other things coming into the country because so much of our secrets, you know we have the great brain power in Silicon Valley and China and others steal those secrets.
And we’re going protect those secrets.  Those are crown jewels for this country.  And you know you read so much about China, you read so much about other countries, we have the great brainpower right in this country I’m proud to say.  And you’re certainly a member of that group.
DOOCY:  I’m an America.  What about the fact that there are a lot of people that say what’s he doing he’s going to start a trade war if he slaps 25 percent on $50 billion for China that’s going to be bad for Americans?
TRUMP:  No the trade war was started many years ago by them and the United States lost.
DOOCY:  So you’re saying we’re on the losing end of it?
TRUMP:  Well, no.  There is no trade war.  They’ve taken so much.  So last year $375 billion in trade deficit.  We had a 300 – with China.  We had overall over $800 billion over a period of years each year close to $800 billion in losses in trade.  Not going to happen anymore.  It’s not going to happen.  Can’t happen.
DOOCY:  A week ago you were up in – up in Canada and you met with the G7 people.
TRUMP:  I was.
DOOCY:  That didn’t end so well.
TRUMP:  Oh, it ended well for the United States, it ended well.
DOOCY:  Well, the world community thinks the United States is turning our back on them –
TRUMP:  No, no.
DOOCY:  But your opinion is that it’s you got elected to represent America and America needs help.
TRUMP:  We need protection.  Everybody is taking advantage of us.  The European Union made $151 billion on us last year.  The – if you look at – I told you about China.  You look at Japan, you look at South Korea, you look at somebody (ph) and we help these countries militarily on top of everything else.
I mean, at what point does it stop?  And when I left China it was absolutely a fantastic meeting.  We left, we hugged, we kissed.  Everybody was leaving and then I get onto Air Force One and the prime minister up there Trudeau didn’t think, I guess, that we have any televisions on Air Force One.  But they have, I think, 21 televisions or some ridiculous number –
DOOCY:  And so, you saw it and you hit the roof.
TRUMP:  Well, you have to understand, we’re hugging, we’re saying goodbye, everybody’s happy.  I made changes to the agreement because I wanted it to be much better for the United States.  I made changes.  We’re all happy and then he got up and started saying that he doesn’t want to be pushed around by the United States.  Well, they charge us almost 300 percent on dairy products.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  So, we can’t do that.
DOOCY:  Have you heard from any of the G7 –
TRUMP:  Yes, the all called me to wish me happy birthday yesterday.
DOOCY:  Really?  And how was that?
TRUMP:  It was very –
DOOCY:  Not your birthday but the message from the other side.
TRUMP:  I took it very well.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  No, they all called.  I mean I have great friendships.  The new prime minister of Italy is great.  Got to meet him.  Very strong on immigration.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  Like I am, by the way.  It seems that strong on immigration wins now.
DOOCY:  Sure.  But this is –
TRUMP:  But the democrats by the way are very weak on immigration.  If you notice when I came over they were all saying about separating the families and that’s a democrat bill.  That’s democrats wanting to do that and they could solve it very easily by getting together.  But they think it’s a good election point.  I think it’s a horrible election point for them.
DOOCY:  Ultimately Congress has got to change the laws –
TRUMP:  They got to change the law.
DOOCY:  — but at the same time, Mr. President, people say look, you rip these families apart even though it is the law, it’s heartless.
TRUMP:  But that’s the law and that’s what the democrats gave us and we’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate but the just don’t want to negotiate.  They’re afraid of – they’re afraid of security for our country.  They’re afraid of a wall.  Although I must tell you most people now really – they want the wall.
They want to stop the drugs, they want to stop a lot of people from coming in that shouldn’t be here like MS-13.
DOOCY:  A lot of – I was up on Capitol Hill yesterday with Steve Scalise, they were having a leadership meeting.  It sounds like they were going to take a vote on a couple of different bills on immigration probably next week.  One of them, the Good Life bill, the other is something more moderate.  Would you sign either one of those?
TRUMP:  I’m looking at both of them.  I certainly wouldn’t sign the more –
DOOCY:  What does the bill have to have in it?
TRUMP:  I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security.  I have to have that.  We have to get –
DOOCY:  Got to have the wall?  Does that mean the wall?
TRUMP:  We have to have the wall.  If we don’t have the wall there’s no bill.  We have to catch and release.  We catch a criminal, a real criminal, a rough tough criminal, we take his name and then we release him.  And we say please show up to court in a couple of months.
You know what the chances of getting him to court are?  Like zero.  OK.  It’s crazy.  Then we have the lottery program, right.  It’s called Lottery Visa (ph).
DOOCY:  Diversity Lottery Program.
TRUMP:  Yes, well lottery visa.
DOOCY:  OK.  One of the –
TRUMP:  OK, whatever.  They have 15 there.  Still – everyone of them has lottery.  Do you know what lottery is?  That’s when you pick names to come into the country.  Well when a country gives names, they’re not giving us their finest.  So we’re picking people, it’s not good.
We have to end that.  We have to end a couple of them and we are going to be so secure as a country. Now with all of that being said, we’re doing a great job.  ICE, we’re getting MS-13 out by the thousands.  But we shouldn’t have to be going into towns in Long Island and other places and getting them out.  You know it’s almost like we’re liberating towns. It’s incredible.
DOOCY:  You mentioned court.  Regarding a legal proceeding, you got Robert – the Mueller investigation.  I know we kind of touched on that a little while ago.  Rudy Giuliani is out this morning.  He said the investigation should go away.  Time to fold up the tent.  Or it’s time to investigate the investigators.  Are you on the same page?
TRUMP:  Look, we have 13 angry democrats.  There are – I call them 13 angry democrats and others work for Obama for eight years.  I mean they have no republicans, you have no – it’s a very unfair situation but the IG report totally exonerates.  I mean if you look at the results and if you look at the head investigator is saying we have to stop Trump from becoming president.
Well Trump became president and we have the best economy today we’ve ever had.  We have much greater border security than we ever would have had.  And when we do it – when we have the laws changed it will be like perfecto.
DOOCY:  Rudy says that you should not talk to a lawyer.
TRUMP:  A lot of people say that.  Look –
DOOCY:  Getting the IG report and stuff that’s going on.
TRUMP:  They’re getting people who say something a little bit off.  It is a nice day?  Well, you know no it’s not a great day.  Oops, you lied.  He goes you know got problems.
DOOCY:  What –
TRUMP:  People are afraid of that and I would like to talk but it seems to be very biased.
DOOCY:  One of – some of the texts and we’re not going to quote them were very –
TRUMP:  Vicious.
DOOCY:  Vicious regarding people who support you.
TRUMP:  Vicious.  I have the greatest supporters in the world.  By the way, they’re the smartest, they’re the hardest working.  They pay taxes.  They’re incredible.  They’re loyal.  I have the bikers, I have the construction workers.  I have them all.  I have – by the way I have the FBI.
You go into the FBI and take a poll of the real FBI, not the scum on top.  Not Comey and that group of people that are total thieves.
DOOCY:  Most of those are gone.
TRUMP:  Well, I don’t know how Peter Strzok is still working there to be honest with you.
DOOCY:  He’s working in HR.  This is –
TRUMP:  That’s even worse.
DOOCY:  Mr. President, this is your FBI.
TRUMP:  I know but do you know what I’ve done and you know this.  I’ve told you this.  I’m so involved, great new secretary of state, just – I have a fantastic relationship now with North Korea.  There were missiles being thrown about.
DOOCY:  Yes.
TRUMP:  People aren’t thinking about it anymore.  I said on the Department of Justice, I would stay uninvolved.  Now I may get involved at some point if it gets worse.  I say I’m staying uninvolved.  I’m letting this report go through.  I did nothing wrong.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  There was no one –
DOOCY:  But Mr. President I was on Capitol Hill yesterday and there are a number of congressional republicans who are, they are trying to get some documents from your Department of Justice, your FBI.
TRUMP:  I tried to stay involved.  I may not stay involved, again uninvolved.  Because they have to get the documents, look I think everybody –
DOOCY:  But your FBI is stonewalling.
TRUMP:  I think that road – rog —
DOOCY:  Rosenstein.
TRUMP:  Rosenstein thinks that you have to get the documents.  I really believe that.  I saw him yesterday.  He gave me a briefing.  It think that he believes you have to get the documents.
DOOCY:  What did he say regarding the IG reports?
TRUMP:  Well he wasn’t thrilled about it.  I mean you know you can’t be if you’re in there now.  But it really was talking about the past.  It’s not talking about us.  It’s talking about before us.  And it’s talking about the election.
What they did during the election was a disgrace.  It’s probably never happened in our country before.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  What’s going to happen when we go further?  And there was total biased.  I mean total biased.
DOOCY:  From what you’ve seen so far should James Comey be locked up?
TRUMP:  Well look, I would never want to get involved in that.  Certainly he, they just seem like very criminal acts to me.  What he did was criminal.  What he did was a terrible thing to people.  What he did was so bad in terms of our constitution in terms of the wellbeing of our country.  What he did was horrible.
Should he be locked up?  Let somebody make a determination.  Look at all the dishonest things that crooked Hillary did.  Look at what’s gone on.  It’s very sad.
DOOCY:  Sounds like he was using a private e-mail too.
TRUMP:  He had a private e-mail.  That was of all the things, that wasn’t to me maybe the most interesting.  But it was probably the funniest.
DOOCY:  Because she got in big trouble for her private e-mail.  Oh, James Comey’s using one too.
TRUMP:  That was a little bit of a surprise I have to say.
DOOCY:  Yes.  From what we’ve seen though regarding the IG report it sounds like Comey made some bad judgments but nothing criminal.
TRUMP:  Well if you look at what happened — and don’t forget all of these people like Strake (ph), what he did was criminal.  Strzok and so many others.  McCabe is now —
DOOCY:  Do you need to bias the analysts?
TRUMP:  Oh, they all work for Comey.  And Comey knew everything that was going, then you think McCabe didn’t tell him everything?  McCabe told him everything.  And McCabe is up for criminal right now.
DOOCY:  And now he’s suing the Department of Justice.
TRUMP:  And he’s now suing.  And it’s a total mess, they’re all going against each other.  No I think Comey was the ringleader of this whole, you know den of thieves.  It was a den of thieves.
DOOCY:  Are you confidant that either through the congressional investigators or the IG report, or new management at the FBI things are going to work out?
TRUMP:  I think so, I think so.
DOOCY:  Things are cleaning up and we’ll get to the bottom of all that stuff?
TRUMP:  I do believe so.  I think its happening.  It’s happening slowly.  But it’s happening.  I think Christopher Wray’s a very different from Comey.  Which is what you need, you need different.  You need like the opposite.  And he’s moving step by step.  And you’re going to see a whole new very proud FBI.
I think that the Justice Department will end up being – it’s all going to happen.  It’s all going to work out.  But I tried to stay as much uninvolved as I can.
DOOCY:  You were very involved in going to Singapore, negotiating with Kim Jong-un.
TRUMP:  Right.
DOOCY:  When you finally met him and sat across the table from.  You know we’ve heard a lot of bad things about little rocket man.  And suddenly you guys seem to be best friends.
TRUMP:  We got along very well.  We had a good chemistry.  I don’t know if that’s supposed to be popular or politically correct to say.  But we really did.  We had good chemistry.  You haven’t had any rockets shot up in the air for seven months.
You haven’t had any research.  They just blew up their test site, they’re blowing up their engine test site for ballistic missiles.  He’s giving us back our great hero’s who died, as you know.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  We’re getting their remains back.  And I’ve had so many people, so may parents, so many fathers, and daughters, and sons asking me please, please.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  This is during the campaign and after.  I don’t have exactly a good relationship anyway.  During the meeting and we really did hit it off.  During the – you know good chemistry.
DOOCY:  You have since used some very friendly words regarding him.  And you’re taking some heat for that.
TRUMP:  Yes.  I mean that’s what it is.  I take heat.  But what am supposed to do?  Walk out and say terrible?  I mean I got along with him very well.  We have good chemistry.  I asked him the remains; I’d like to get them.  He said yes, we will do that.
They are already starting to produce the remains of these great young soldiers who were left in North Korea.  We’re getting the remains.  And nobody thought that was possible.
DOOCY:  The way you have described things, it sounds like you feel that he’s on the road to denuking.
TRUMP:  Oh, absolutely.  It’s in the agreement.  It says he will denuclearize.
DOOCY:  Right.  I know it’s kind of broad.
TRUMP:  You know it’s funny when you see the fake news.  Because – and you guy’s aren’t fake.  But I signed an agreement where we get everything.  Everything, but they say Trump lost because he agreed to meet.  Trump agreed to meet.
DOOCY:  Got the picture.
TRUMP:  No it’s a funny thing.  You got to watch CNN, what a fraud it is.  They go Trump is —
DOOCY:  Their listening they’re right behind you, right there.
TRUMP:  That’s fine.  Do you hear me?  Trump agreed to meet.  I say I agreed to meet.  Of course you got to agree to meet.  If you don’t agree to meet you know what you’re going to have?  You’re going to have nuclear war, that’s what you’re going to have.
I have a great relationship.  He gave us back our hostages.  I didn’t pay $1.8 billion.  I paid nothing.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  But it was very smart that he did it.  He gave us back our hostages.  He’s giving us back the remains of probably 7,500 soldiers.
DOOCY:  Really?
TRUMP:  Yes.  There’s a tremendous number of soldiers.  Tremendous number of MIAs, you know folks that just never – they’ve never been found.
DOOCY:  It sounds like —
TRUMP:  And they, and by the way they know where many of these bodies are.
DOOCY:  What is the stage of the meetings now?  I know you —
TRUMP:  It’s great.  Mike Pompeo is just leaving there.  He was in South Korea.
DOOCY:  Any developments from (inaudible)?
TRUMP:  We’re getting along great with South Korea.  We’re getting along great with China.  Probably until this morning because we just did a tariff in China.  But that’s OK.  Because I have a wonderful relationship with President Xi, we’ll all work it out.  He understands it’s unfair.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  They can’t believe they got away with it for so long Steve.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  They can’t believe it.  I mean they got away with it for 25 years.  I’m not just blaming Obama.  I’m blaming many Presidents and leaders.
DOOCY:  At what point —
TRUMP:  It should have never happened.
DOOCY:  At what point do the sanctions come off of North Korea?
TRUMP:  When we can be sure there will be no more nuclear.
DOOCY:  How close are we to that?
TRUMP:  Very close.  We’re very close to getting it started.  He wants’ to do it, he wants to do something great with his country, he wants’ to make his country great.
DOOCY:  So you are saying that you’ll relieve the sanctions once what ever he’s going to do —
TRUMP:  Once we know —
DOOCY:  Is completely.  That stuff doesn’t work anymore.
TRUMP:  Once we know that it can’t happen.
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  And I’m telling you right now with the relationship I have it’s not going to happen.  Hey you haven’t had a rocket test in seven months.  I was with Prime Minister Abe, another good friend of mine from Japan.  I said when’s the last time you had a rocket flying over Japan?
He said it has not happened.  I said it won’t happen.  Don’t worry about.
DOOCY:  Are we close to seeing Mr. Kim here at the White House?
TRUMP:  It could happen.  I mean yes, I would have him.
DOOCY:  Did they talk about that –
(CROSSTALK)
TRUMP:  Yes.  I think it’s something that could happen.  Yes.  Hey, he’s the head of a country.  And I mean he is the strong head.  Don’t let anyone think anything different.  He speaks and his people sit up at attention.  I want my people to do the same.
DOOCY:  Well just before you met with him he cleaned house.  Three of his top Generals, some of the hardliners he’s fired.
TRUMP:  Yes that’s what I hear.
DOOCY:  Then you go over there.  And you got – you took some heat over saluting one of the Generals.
TRUMP:  I think he fired at least, OK when you say he fired.
DOOCY:  Three that we know of.
TRUMP:  I think maybe fired at least, fired maybe a nice word.  That’s right, I met a General.  He saluted me, I saluted him back.  And I guess their using that as another sound bite.  I mean, you know I think I’m being respectful to the General.
We are, we have a very good relationship with North Korea.  When I was talking to President Obama, he essentially was ready to go to war with North Korea.  He felt you almost had to go to war.  And I did ask him.  Have you spoken to him?  It was no.  I said do you think it would be a good thing to speak to him maybe?
DOOCY:  Right.
TRUMP:  OK.  Because if you go to war there your not talking about 100,000 lives, which is a lot, your talking about 30, 40, 50 million lives.  Seoul is 30 miles off the border.  They don’t even need nuclear weapons to take out Seoul.
And they have thousands of cannons.  They call them cannons, they have the big guns.  Thousands pointed right at Seoul.  We have a really great relationship for the first time ever.  No President’s ever had this.  So I get hit by these fakes back here.  Not all of them.  Some are phenomenal.  But I get hit.  Because I went there, I gave him credibility.  I think it’s great to give him credibility.  Here’s what we got, everything, point after point after point.
DOOCY:  One point, I think it was in the last week, 10 days.  Things are going faster in Washington, just saying.  But —
TRUMP:  We’re having a lot of fun right? So supposing Hillary instead of Trump, do you think it would be so exciting?  Your ratings would be way down, number one show in the morning folks.
DOOCY:  Well thank you.  I’ve heard you say the others in cable news.  That’s right.  It was with in the last —
TRUMP:  Actually also beyond cable news you’re doing pretty well.
DOOCY:  We’re doing OK.  Thanks for dropping by –
TRUMP:  I like ratings.
DOOCY:  All the others (inaudible).
TRUMP:  I study ratings, broadcasting.
DOOCY:  You had mentioned the NFL players and the — you know, some taking a knee.  And you would like to hear some of the stories of people who you should pardon.  And you mentioned professional ethics.  Have you heard from any of them?
TRUMP:  No.  I haven’t heard.  You know their all saying it has nothing to do with the flag.  It’s the way we’ve been treated and in the meantime their making $15 million a year.  Look I’m all for the athletes.  I think it’s great.  I love athletics, I love sports.
But they shouldn’t get the politics involved.  When you’re in a stadium and they broadcast that nationally you got to stand.  And you got to be proud.  And you got to have your hand up.  And you got to do everything that’s right.  And then go out and play really tough football.
And once you leave that stadium go and do what ever you want to do.  Run for office, or do what ever.  But I did say, you know I have this tremendous power of pardon.  And Kim Kardashian came in and there were woman 22 years in jail
DOOCY:  People can’t believe that you would be listening to Kim Kardashian.
TRUMP:  Well I did, I don’t know here and I met her and she was really nice I have to say and very capable but she came in and she said this is a very unfair situation, I looked at her and I agreed.
Twenty, she’s in there for 22 years she’s got another 20 years to serve, and you have drug dealers that are doing big stuff and they get a two month sentence, it was just unfair.  And I thought it was a beautiful scene when that woman left prison and ran over to — it looked like their grandkids, it was a couple of big strong guys.
DOOCY:  She’s (inaudible).
TRUMP:  Big strong guys, some wonderful women, they were all hugging and kissing and everyone’s crying.  To me that was a beautiful scene, well she thanked me but thank Kim because I wouldn’t have known about it.  And I told the NFL players indirectly, you have somebody that’s aggrieved, because they’re people are aggrieved, OK.  Let me know about it, I’ll look at it, if they’re aggrieved, I will pardon them I’ll get them out.
DOOCY:  I’m shocked you haven’t heard from a single one.
TRUMP:  I don’t think I’ve from one, maybe they’ve called the staff but I have not personally heard from one.
DOOCY:  Speaking of the staff…
TRUMP:  Because I don’t know if it’s a real issue, I don’t think it’s a real issue.
DOOCY:  Sarah Huckabee Sanders your press secretary, she’s – she took a lot of heat yesterday from the people behind you.
TRUMP:  Oh, she did?  I didn’t know that.
DOOCY:  Well she did, there was some suggestion that maybe she’d be leaving the White House.
TRUMP:  I don’t think so, you know look at a certain point everyone sort of leaves, you have to leave.  I’m sort of just standing like a ship, just keep going, bing, bing, but Sarah loves this job and she’s announced, not with me, I read that same report.
Somebody put it out, I think it was CBS when she said it’s a false report but it’s fake news.  But at some point I’m sure she’ll leave, like everybody leaves and we’ll get somebody else but Sarah’s done a fantastic job.  No I don’t think she’s leaving.
DOOCY:  What do you make of the…
TRUMP:  That she was very insulted that they came out and said that so I don’t think she’s leaving.
DOOCY:  What do you make of the back and forth between her and the press, because sometimes it gets loud.
TRUMP:  I think the press treats Sarah very unfairly, that White House correspondent…
DOOCY:  But I think some of them feel she’s not answering their questions so they’re going to ask it again and ask it a lot.
TRUMP:  Well I gave a press conference in Singapore that was like an hour and a half and that was like the biggest press group I’ve ever seen.  And I answered every single question, I’d answer anybodies question I guess that’s not supposed to be my job, I’m here with you today, you’re giving me a lot of interesting questions.
DOOCY:  Well thank you very much.
TRUMP:  But Steve, I think Sarah is really a good person and a nice person, very capable.  She’s got a lot of her father’s genes because her father is great.  Don’t forget he got up there on that debate stage and he said, nobody’s going to beat Trump.  And I even decided to — he was running and I even decided to wear a Trump tie.  And I said I love that guy, I loved him OK.
Mike, is a very talented guy and Sarah’s a very talented person, but they treat her very badly.  What they did Sarah at the White House correspondent, now the only difference I would have done, I would have walked out.  I thought she should have walked out instead of sitting there.  But you know…
DOOCY:  She took a high road.
TRUMP:  She took a very high road, sometimes you don’t take such a high road.
DOOCY:  We had Stewart Varney on our air alert…
TRUMP:  By the way, he is great.  I love Stewart.
DOOCY:  That little part, he’s going to be running everyday now.
TRUMP:  No I love him, and he’s right.  He knows what he’s talking about.
DOOCY:  Well he suggested that the next quarter, GDP, could be four percent.
TRUMP:  Well they’re predicting, the Atlanta Fed predicted 4.8 percent, I think that’s a lot.  When I got elected, I took this thing over it was 1.2 and each point is three trillion dollars and 10 million jobs.  You know a point people will see at home, oh it’s a .1, what difference does it make?
Well, it was 1.2 and it was going down. You probably saw this morning I put out, they would have raised your taxes instead of cut your taxes and they were going to put on more regulations.  The last thing we need is regulations. I actually think my regulation cutting had more of an impact on the economy than the tax cuts.
DOOCY:  When you were running you said for every regulation that we enact, I will cut two.
TRUMP: Right.
DOOCY:  But you didn’t cut two, you’re cutting a much bigger number.
TRUMP:  That’s right, 22, it turned out, 22.  And by the way you need regulation, I want the cleanest water in the world, I want the cleanest air in the world, I want that air to be so perfect, and our air now is better than it was two years ago.
With all of the talk and the nonsense, clean — crystal clean water, clean air, but I also want our companies to be competitive so they can go around the world and compete, and we were shutting down companies over the environment and they weren’t doing anything wrong, and that’s jobs.
DOOCY:  Right, but there are some who say, look the EPA is relaxing a lot of rules that are out there to protect people.
TRUMP:  Only rules that don’t mean anything or rules that are duplicatative.
DOOCY:  There’s a lot of those.
TRUMP:  Well not only that, I mean some of them you have nine different times you have to get the same thing approved by different agencies.  To build a highway in this country takes 19 years of approvals, I have it down to two years.  And you’ll get rejected if it’s wrong, if it’s environmentally bad.  But I have it down to two years. I want to get it down to one year.  And that’s indicative of everything else too.
A company comes in from China, from Japan they want to spend a tremendous amount of money on building a plant or something, right?  It takes them seven years to get a permit, and they don’t do it because it’s too long.  I have it down to one year and even faster, now if they’re wrong, we know immediately.  You don’t have to wait seven years, how about going through the press of seven years and getting rejected.
How about a highway that spends 19 years getting approved and then the last vote they get a three to two vote? No, that happens often times and they spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the approval, not going to happen anymore.
DOOCY:  I saw a headline on Drudge I think this morning, unemployment at a 44 year low.
TRUMP:  Yes, yes, Drudge is great by the way, Matt Drudge is a great gentleman who really — I don’t know, he’s got an ability to capture the stories that people want to see.  But that was the number one story on Drudge.  Forty-four year low unemployment, and I saw that in very big letters actually, and I said “That makes me very proud.”
DOOCY:  Another story out there this past week is while you did meet with Kim Jong-un it sounds like you and Mr. Putin may be sitting down sometime soon, what can you tell us about that?
TRUMP:  We may, and it started because a reported shouted to me, should Putin be in the G7?  I said no, he should be in the G8, it used to be the G8 a few years ago, and I think President Obama didn’t like him or even though they gave advanced notice about the election to Obama, people forget about that.  You know Obama was told by the CIA or somebody, FBI, about Russia. He didn’t do anything about it.  How come he never gets blamed?  In September just before the election, my election, he should have done it, because maybe I would have won by more.
DOOCY:  Right.  Yesterday, a big day not only did the HE report come out but it was your birthday.
TRUMP:  That’s right.
DOOCY:  Get any good presents?
TRUMP:  I got a lot of good kisses, I got a lot of phone calls from people that I would never have gotten phone calls from.  I got phone calls from…
DOOCY:  Who’d you get the kisses from?
TRUMP:  From my beautiful wife, who’s really doing great, she’s doing great.  But and my kids.
DOOCY:  Speaking of your wife.
TRUMP:  Yes?
DOOCY:  We saw a story I think as you were heading to the chopper you said, she can’t fly for a month.
TRUMP:  One month, well the doctor said don’t fly for a month, but she’ll be able to very shortly.
DOOCY:  And she’s on the mend?
TRUMP:  Oh, she’s in great shape, she’s like perfect.  She – somebody said, did she have a face lift?  No, did she have this, did she have that?  I mean the speculation, even after the doctors gave a full – and these are White House doctors that give a really straight stuff, but no she’s doing fantastically well.
DOOCY:  We had your son Don Jr. on our show and he said he was not getting you anything for your birthday because you’ve got everything.
TRUMP:  Well I just want to have a successful country, I’ll be honest, I — this is so intensive.  We’ve done more, I don’t say this in a bragging way, actually some of the haters actually say this.  We’ve done more in 500 days, so now it’s 510 days, than any 500 day president first term by far.  And that’s what I want to do, I want to really – you know I got elected to make America great again, very simple.
Make America great again, and that’s what we’re doing and we are respected around the world.  You take a look at Iran, they’re not talking about Iran taking over the Middle East. I took that crazy deal that Obama gave them away.  Iran’s not looking to the Mediterranean anymore. You know they had to go through a lot of territory to get there.
They’re looking to survive, but I will tell you, some day soon they’re going to come back and they’re going to want to negotiate a deal and we’ll make a deal.  But they were nasty, they were very, very nasty, and it had to be stopped.  I took away the deal, and I think they’ve been treating America with much more respect and I have to say you don’t see the little boats circling our boats anymore, do you notice that?
Remember with Obama you had this beautiful disarray, you have this Annapolis captain on the boat and he’s sitting there and he’s like a boiler waiting to explode because he was giving orders and they were circling us with those boats right?  And he wanted to shoot the hell out of them — he wanted to – they were harassing our guys.  And he wanted to shoot the hell out of them and you don’t see that stuff anymore.  By the way when they captured our 10 sailors and made them get on their knees, you’re not going to see that anymore.
DOOCY:  All right hear the bells in the distance, we’re coming up on 9:00 in the east, how are you going to celebrate Father’s Day?
TRUMP:  Work, I’m going to work, I’m going to actually be calling North Korea, I’m going to be calling — I just have right now I have a call from your friend from France, Emmanuel.
DOOCY:  What are you going to tell him?
TRUMP:  I’m going to tell you have to treat us better on trade. European Union’s not treating us well on trade.  I love trade, you know trades always been my thing even 20 years ago when I’d be talking to you.  Trade was always my thing, it’s probably – I’m getting a lot of credit for what we’re doing foreign, but I think my best thing is going to be trade.  We have to straighten out our trade. You know we’re doing well despite our bad trade deals, after we do our trade deals, what till you see the numbers.
DOOCY:  Mr. President, I don’t think in the history – anybody ever know the sitting President come out on the North Lawn?
UNIDENIFIED PARTICIPANT:  Never.
DOOCY:  Never, never happen.
TRUMP:  Secret Service is thrilled, as I stand here, look at these guys they’re ready to..
DOOCY:  Yes.  I feel very secure.  You know what, he’s just –
TRUMP:  This is definitely your son.  By the way –
DOOCY:  It’s fine.  He’s not –
TRUMP:  – I looked at him – I look at him.  There’s no question that’s your son.
DOOCY:  That’s very kind of you.  All right, Mr. President, thank you very much.
TRUMP:  Thank you.
DOOCY:  Actually because you’re in – we’re in the golf business, right now we’re going to throw it to Bill Hemmer –
TRUMP:  Oh, so exciting.
DOOCY:  – who is reporting live from the U.S. Open.
TRUMP:  And Bill’s doing a good job, too.  He knows golf.
DOOCY:  There you go.
TRUMP:  I’ve been watching.  Good, Bill.  Do it.
END

After concluding his interview with Steve Doocy, President Trump walked over to where the White House press core was waiting several yards away on the driveway. For the next 20 minutes, he proceeded to answer their shouted, and occasionally ill-mannered, questions.

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT TRUMP IN PRESS GAGGLE, WHITE HOUSE NORTH LAWN & DRIVEWAY

June 15, 2018 9:03-9:21 A.M.

Transcript Source: The White House

Link to video of the President’s Q & A with the White House press

 President Trump takes questions during the press gaggle outside the White House, Friday morning June 15, 2018

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think that James Comey was (inaudible).  I think what he did was a disgrace.  I think he goes down as the worst FBI Director in history, by far.  There’s nobody close.  And I think I did the country a tremendous favor by firing him.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I think — actually, if you take a look, when he totally exonerated her — because I call it “Comey Three.”  You had one, two, and then you had Comey three.  He totally exonerated her.  And if anything he’s saying is correct, what she did is they tried to pretend it didn’t happen.  I would have gone out there and I would have had the greatest news conference in history.  They tried to pretend the exoneration didn’t happen.
Now, the exoneration was incorrect because there’s no way they could have checked that number of emails in just a few days.  But if you remember, just before the election, he went out and he exonerated her and they didn’t even talk about it.  That was the greatest political mistake.
With all of that being said, I won Wisconsin, I won Michigan, I won states that a Republican hasn’t won in many, many decades, years.  She didn’t do a good job and you never gave me credit for doing a great job.  But the fact is, I did a great job.
Q    Mr. President, there was a Fox news report this week that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is pushing back and threatening to investigate the congressional investigators who just want documents.  Do you think that that is appropriate?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I hope that’s not so.  And I know they’re getting documents.  And I purposely — look, if you see what I’ve done with North Korea and with the State Department, Mike Pompeo, it’s running so well.  It’s — I have this running so well.  I have purposefully, because of this ridiculous witch hunt, I have said I’m going to stay away from the Justice Department until it’s completed.  So I wanted to stay away.  Now, that doesn’t mean I have to, because I don’t have to.  I can get involved.  But I don’t want you people to say that I’m interfering, that I’m doing anything.
I think that the report yesterday, maybe more importantly than anything, it totally exonerates me.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  And if you read the report, you’ll see that.
What you’ll really —
Q    On North Korea —
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Wait, wait, wait.  What you’ll really see is you’ll see bias against me and millions and tens of millions of my followers.  That is really a disgrace.
And yet, if you go — and yet, if you look at the FBI, and you went in and you called the FBI — the real FBI — those guys love me, and I love them.
Q    Are you going to suspend Mueller?  Are you thinking of suspending Mueller?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, but I think that whole investigation now is — look, the problem with the Mueller investigation is everybody has got massive conflicts.  You have Weissmann who was at Hillary Clinton’s funeral, meaning, her party that turned into a funeral.  And they were screaming and crying and they were going crazy.  How can you have people like this?  So you have — I call them the “13 Angry Democrats.”  You have a tremendous animosity.
Now, here’s the good news: I did nothing wrong.  There was no collusion.  There was no obstruction.  The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that.  And I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited.
Q    Mr. President, you have spoken so passionately about the circumstances that led to Otto Warmbier’s death.
THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah.
Q    In the same breath, you’re defending now Kim Jong Un’s human rights records.  How can you do that?
THE PRESIDENT:  You know why?  Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you or your family.  I don’t want to see —
Q    By the way, you declared the nuclear threat from North Korea is over.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Because I don’t want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family.  I want to have a good relationship with North Korea.  I want to have a good relationship with many other countries.  And what I’ve done, if you remember, if you’re fair, which most of you aren’t — but if you’re fair, when I came in, people thought we were probably going to war with North Korea.  If we did —
Q    You say the threat is over.  Is it over?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.  Quiet.  Quiet.  If we did, millions of people would have been killed.  I don’t mean like — you know, people are saying 100,000.  Seoul has 28 million people 30 miles off the border.  You would have had 30, 40, 50 million people killed.  Who knows what would have happened?
I came in; that was what I inherited.  I should have never inherited.  That should have been solved long before I got there.  I did a great job this week.  The fake news said, “Oh, you met.”  But the only thing they saw that I gave up — one broadcast said, “He gave up so much.”  You know what I gave up?  I met.  I met.  We had great chemistry.  He gave us a lot.  You haven’t had a missile test in seven months.  You haven’t had a firing.  You haven’t had a nuclear test in eight and a half months.  You haven’t had missiles flying over Japan.  He gave us the remains of our great heroes.  I have had so many people begging me — parents, and fathers, mothers, daughters, sons — wherever I went, “Could you please get the remains of my boy back?”  They’re giving them back.  Nobody thought that was possible.
Q    Sir —
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  They’re doing so much.  And now we’re well on our way to denuclearization.  And the agreement says there will be total denuclearization.  Nobody wants to report that.
So the only thing I did was I met.  I got along with him great.  He is great.  We have a great chemistry together.  That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Q    How can Kim love his people if he’s killing them?
THE PRESIDENT:  I can’t speak to that.  I can only speak to the fact that we signed an incredible agreement.  It’s great.  And it’s going to be great for them, too.  Because now North Korea can develop and North Korea can become a great country economically.  It can become whatever they want.  But there won’t be nuclear weapons and they won’t be aimed at you and your families.
Q    Mr. President, why did you offer to halt the military exercises with South Korea?
THE PRESIDENT:  That was my offer.  Just so you understand.  Military —
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, you want to hear?
Q    Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  Military — I call them “war games.”  I hated them from the day I came in.  I said, why aren’t we being reimbursed?
Q    That’s North Korea’s term.  “War games.”
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s my term.
Q    They use it too.
THE PRESIDENT:  They might use it.  We pay for it.  We pay millions and millions of dollars for planes, and all of this.  It’s my term.  I said, I’d like to halt it because it’s bad to be negotiating and doing it.  It costs us a lot of money.  I saved lot of money.  That’s a good thing for us.
Okay, go ahead.
Q    What did you mean just now when you said you wished Americans would sit up at attention when you spoke —
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m kidding.  You don’t understand sarcasm.  Who are you with?
Wait, wait, who are you with?  Who are you with?
Q    CNN.
THE PRESIDENT:  You’re with CNN!  Hey, you are the worst.
Q    Mr. President —
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait, we have time.
Q    So there’s some high-profile court cases going on.  You’ve got a former campaign manager, your former lawyer.  They’re all dealing with legal troubles.  Are you paying close attention —
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I feel badly about a lot of them, because I think a lot of it is very unfair.  I mean, I look at some of them where they go back 12 years.  Like Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign.  But I feel so — I tell you, I feel a little badly about it.  They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago?
You know, Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time.  He worked for Ronald Reagan.  He worked for Bob Dole.  He worked for John McCain, or his firm did.  He worked for many other Republicans.  He worked for me, what, for 49 days or something?  A very short period of time.
I feel badly for some people, because they’ve gone back 12 years to find things about somebody, and I don’t think it’s right.  I don’t think it’s right that they burst into a lawyer’s office on a weekend and early in the morning.  I never heard of that before.  I mean, could you imagine if they burst into Barack Obama’s lawyer’s office?  It would not be acceptable.  It would not be acceptable.  I mean, that’s really a terrible thing.
Now, I feel badly for a lot of those people.  I feel badly for General Flynn.  He’s lost his house.  He’s lost his life.  And some people say he lied, and some people say he didn’t lie.  I mean, really, it turned out maybe he didn’t lie.  So how can you do that?  How can you do that — because who has lied more than Comey?  I mean, Comey lied a tremendous amount.
Q    You say that you feel badly.  Is there any consideration at any point of a pardon for any of the people that you —
THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t want to talk about that.  No, I don’t want to talk about that.  They’ll (inaudible).  But look, I do want to see people treated fairly.  That’s what it’s all about.
I mentioned the other day — you saw what I did with the woman — she’s in jail for 23 years on charges where other people are out after three months.  I thought it was a very unfair.  It was brought to — and she had another 20 years left, okay?  She was 63 years old.
Q    What about those who don’t have a celebrity talking for them?
THE PRESIDENT:  What?
Q    What about all those folks who don’t have Kim Kardashian speaking on their behalf?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m looking at them too, if you don’t mind.  I’m looking at them too.
Q    Do you worry that Michael Cohen might flip?
THE PRESIDENT:  One second.
Q    Are you worried that Michael Cohen might flip?
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, I did nothing wrong.  You have to understand, this stuff would have come out a long time ago.  I did nothing wrong.  I don’t do anything wrong.
Q    Is Michael Cohen still your friend?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s really nice.
Q    Is he still your friend?
THE PRESIDENT:  I always liked Michael Cohen.  I haven’t spoken to Michael in a long time.
Q    Is he still your lawyer?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, he’s not my lawyer anymore.  But I always liked Michael, and he’s a good person.  And I think he’s been —
Q    Are you worried he will cooperate?
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me, do you mind if I talk?
Q    I just want to know if you’re worried —
THE PRESIDENT:  You’re asking me a question; I’m trying to ask it.
Q    I just want to know if you’re worried if he’s going to cooperate with federal investigators.
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I’m not worried because I did nothing wrong.
Q    Got it.  Got it.
THE PRESIDENT:  Nothing wrong.
Q    Mr. President, did you tape that statement about Don Jr.?  Did you dictate the statement about Donald Trump, Jr.?
THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s not talk about it.  You know what that is?
Q    But can you tell us?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s irrelevant.  It’s a statement to the New York Times — the phony, failing New York Times.
Q    Well, just to clear it up.  To clear it up.
THE PRESIDENT:  Just wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  That’s not a statement to a high tribunal of judges.
Q    Understood.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a statement to the phony New York Times.
In fact, frankly, he shouldn’t even speak to the New York Times because they only write phony stories anyway, although yesterday they wrote a nice story about what a (inaudible).
Q    Thank you, sir.  On the IG report, you’ve said twice now that it exonerated you and it proved there’s no collusion.  The IG report —
THE PRESIDENT:  Look, if you read the IG report, I’ve been totally exonerated.  As far as I’m concerned —
Q    It had nothing to do with collusion.  It had nothing to do with that.
THE PRESIDENT:  Take a little at it.  Take — no, take a look at the investigation.  Take a look at how it started.  Take a look at the horrible statements that Peter Strzok, the chief investigator, said.  And take a look at what he did with Hillary Clinton.  Take a look at —
Q    (Inaudible), sir, that has nothing to do with collusion.  Why are you lying about it, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  I’ll tell you what — you’re asking me about Peter Strzok being fired.  I am amazed that Peter Strzok is still at the FBI, and so is everybody else that read that report.  And I’m not even talking about the report; I’m talking about long before the report.  Peter Strzok should have been fired a long time ago, and others should have been fired.
Q    Mr. President, are you going to fire Scott Pruitt?
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m looking at Scott, and Scott has done a fantastic job at EPA, but — you know, we’ll — we’ll make —
Q    You don’t see anything problems with his ethical —
THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not happy about certain things, I’ll be honest.
Q    Are you going to fire him?
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  Excuse me.  I’m not happy about certain things.  But he’s done a fantastic job running the EPA, which is very overriding.  But I am not happy about it.
Q    Do you think he’s used his position for private gain?
THE PRESIDENT:  I hope not.
Q    Mr. President, do you agree with children being taken away from (inaudible)?
THE PRESIDENT:  No, I hate it.  I hate the children being taken away.  The Democrats have to change their law.  That’s their law.  They will force —
Q    Sir, that’s your own policy.  That’s your own policy.  Why do you keep lying about it, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.  Quiet.  That’s the Democrats’ law.  We can change it tonight.  We can change it right now.  I will leave here —
Q    You’re the President.  You can change it right now.
THE PRESIDENT:  I will leave here — no, no.  You need their votes.  You need their votes.  The Democrats, all they have to do —
Q    Mr. President, you control both chambers of Congress.  The Republicans do.
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  By one vote?  We don’t need it.  You need 60 votes.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Excuse me.  We have the one vote — excuse me.  We need a one-vote — we have a one-vote edge.  We need 60.  So we need 10 votes.  We can’t get them from the Democrats.
Q    What about executive action?
THE PRESIDENT:  Now, wait.  Wait.  You can’t do it through an executive order.
Q    On North Korea, sir.  On North Korea.
Q    Mr. President, why —
THE PRESIDENT:  Can we do one question at a time?  Wait.  One question at a time.
Q    (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT:  The children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully, and immediately.  The Democrats forced that law upon our nation.  I hate it.  I hate to see separation of parents and children.  The Democrats can come to us as they actually are — in all fairness, we are talking to them — and they can change the whole border security.
We need a wall.  We need border security.  We got to get rid of catch-and-release.  You catch a criminal, you take his name, you release him, and he never shows up again.  He goes into our society, and then we end up getting him in a different way, oftentimes after he’s killed somebody.  We’ve got to change our laws.  The Democrats have control because we don’t have the votes.  The Republicans need — we need more Republicans, frankly.  And that’s why I think we’re going to do so well in the midterms.  That and because —
Q    Do you support the immigration compromise, Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait.  That and because we have the strongest economy in the history of our nation.  We have the best jobs numbers in the last 44 years.  Top of Drudge: “The best job numbers in 44 years.”
Q    But then, Mr. President — but then why did Jeff Sessions announce a zero-tolerance policy at the border on May 7th?  Is that not a Republican —
THE PRESIDENT:  Because he’s following the law.
Q    Is that not a Republican policy?
THE PRESIDENT:  No.
Q    Is that not a Republican policy?
THE PRESIDENT:  No.  He’s following laws.  He following a law that —
Q    But that was a direct order to —
THE PRESIDENT:  Can I answer your question, please?
Q    Yes.
THE PRESIDENT:  Okay?  You’re just asking me the same question over and over.  He’s following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats.
Q    That’s not true, sir.  That’s not true.
Q    But there’s no law that says families have to separated at the border.  There’s another way to go about it, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT:  The Democrats gave us the laws.  Now, I want the laws to be beautiful, humane, but strong.  I don’t want bad people coming in.  I don’t want drugs coming in.  And we can solve that problem in one meeting.  Tell the Democrats, your friends, to call me.
Q    Mr. President, at the end of the “Fox & Friends” interview, you said that you were going to spend Father’s Day weekend doing work, and you said that you were going to have a call with North Korea.  Who are you going to talk to in North Korea?
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m going to speak to people in North Korea, and I’m going to speak to my people who are over in North Korea.  A lot of things are happening.
And I will tell you this: We now have a very good relationship with North Korea.  When I came into this job, it looked like war — not because of me, but because — if you remember the sit-down with Barack Obama, I think you will admit this, he said the biggest problem that the United States has, and by far the most dangerous problem — and he said to me — that we’ve ever had, because of nuclear, is North Korea.
Now, that was shortly before I entered office.  I have solved that problem.  Now, we’re getting it memorialized and all, but that problem is largely solved, and part of the reason is we signed, number one, a very good document.  But you know what?  More importantly than the document — more importantly than the document, I have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.  That’s a very important thing.
I can now call him.  I can now say, “Well, we have a problem.”  I told him — I gave him a very direct number.  He can now call me if he has any difficulty.  I can call him.  We have communication.  It’s a very good thing.
People are shocked that this is the kind of — you know, they thought Trump was going to get in and he was going to start throwing bombs all over the place.  It’s actually the opposite.
But we’re building a military so strong — $716 billion next year; $700 [billion] this year.  We’re building a military so strong, nobody is going to mess with us.  But you know what?  I never want to have to use it.
Q    (Inaudible.)
Q    What’s the verification process?
THE PRESIDENT:  Quiet.
Q    You told Americans that they can sleep well at night, and you declared there’s no more nuclear threat.
Q    What’s verification process going to look like?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re going to have a very strong verification process.
Q    What’s it’s going to look like?
THE PRESIDENT:  Now, if you read the agreement, which most of you didn’t, point after point after point he gave, including getting back our — the remains of our great heroes, okay?  Of our great, great heroes.  Which made — some people are crying in the streets they’re so happy.  Nobody thought we were going to get that.  Point after point.
All they said about me is, “You met.  He met.  It’s terrible you met.”  Of course I met.  Meeting is a good thing, not a bad thing.  By the way, it was good for the United States; it was good for them.
I spoke with China.  They are very happy.  Actually, they were much happier.  Now, they may not be as happy today because of what I’m doing with trade.  You probably heard that.  I assume it’s been announced by now.  But we’re putting tariffs on 50 billion dollars’ worth of technology and other things because we have to, because we’ve been treated very unfairly.
But China has been terrific.  President Xi has been terrific.  President Moon, everybody — we’re all working together because of me.
Q    How long will you give Kim Jong Un to follow through on denuclearization before you —
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we’re working it as fast as possible.
Q    Is he coming to the White House soon?
Q    — before you put sanctions back on?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re working it as fast as possible.
Q    Is he visiting the White House, Mr. Trump?
THE PRESIDENT:  We’re working that.  We’re working denuclearization as fast as possible.
Q    Are you planning to meet with Putin this summer?
THE PRESIDENT:  It’s possible that we’ll meet, yeah.  And I thought — you know, this all started because somebody — one of you — asked, “Should Putin be in the G7?”  I said, no, he should be in the G8.
A few years ago, Putin was in what was called the G8.  I think it’s better to have Russia in than to have Russia out, because just like North Korea, just like somebody else, it’s much better if we get along with them than if we don’t.
So it’s possible.  Just so you understand —
Q    Is Crimea part of Russia?  Do you —
THE PRESIDENT:  No, no.  President Obama lost Crimea, just so you understand.  This was long before I got there.  Just — I want to make it so the fake news prints it properly.  President Obama lost Crimea.
Q    So it’s his fault?
THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  That’s his fault.  Yeah, yeah, it’s his fault.  Yeah, it’s his fault.
Q    How is it not Putin’s fault, sir?
THE PRESIDENT:  The President — just so you understand —
Q    How is it not Putin’s fault, sir?  How is it not Putin’s fault?  He invaded them.
THE PRESIDENT:  Because — because Putin didn’t respect President Obama.  President Obama lost Crimea because President Putin didn’t respect President Obama, didn’t respect our country, and didn’t respect Ukraine.
But President Obama, not Trump — when it’s my fault, I’ll tell you.  But President Obama gave away that.  Now, President Obama, by not going across the red line in the sand that he drew — I went across it with the 59 missile hits.  But President Obama, when he didn’t go across the red line, what he gave away, nobody even knows.
But just to put it — one more time, President Obama gave away Crimea.  That should have never happened.
END

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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