Trump sounds off on North Korea, Cohen, Pruitt, Father’s Day and more
Leon Neal/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In freewheeling and impromptu comments on the White House’s North Lawn Friday, President Donald Trump weighed in on everything from the FBI, the trade spats with Canada and China, North Korea, the news media and Father’s Day.
Trump’s comments began as part of a discussion with “Fox and Friends” broadcasting from the White House and seemed to be an extension of his early morning tweetstorm on similar topics.
Here are some highlights:
On the FBI
Trump doubled down on his take on the DOJ’s inspector general’s report that found the FBI’s actions during the 2016 presidential election were not politically motivated, but that some agents’ actions hurt the agency’s reputation.
Trump said the FBI looks “very bad.” “The top people were horrible,” he said. “They were plotting against my election.”
The president had harsh criticism for senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, who exchanged a trove of text messages with an FBI colleague in the months before the presidential election. In one August 2016 text message, Strzok – as he was leading the Clinton probe and the FBI investigation of Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election – said he and his team would “stop” Trump from becoming president if necessary.
“They said they will stop me,” Trump said. “Well, in the meantime, the economy hit an all-time high this morning,” he added, alluding to one of his tweets from earlier Friday.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz said such statements from Strzok and others helped create a “cloud” over the FBI, and Horowitz said he could not discount that political bias played a role in at least one of Strzok’s missteps during the Clinton case.
On North Korea
The president said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shared “good chemistry” and that a meeting with Kim at the White House “could happen.”
“You haven’t had any rockets shot in the air last seven months, haven’t had any [nuclear] research,” Trump said, citing what he saw as the benefits of his relationship with Kim.
“He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same,” Trump said, and when asked about his comments by reporters, said: “I’m kidding, you don’t understand sarcasm.”
Trump reiterated that Kim “will denuclearize” the Korean peninsula.
“We have a really great relationship for the first time ever. No president’s ever had this…” Trump said. “I get hit, because I went there, I gave him credibility.”
Trump blasted the media for criticism that his recent summit and dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave the dictator legitimacy.
He said the truth is that “we have a really great relationship with North Korea” and “I think it’s great to give them legitimacy.” “I signed an agreement where we get everything.” He said he asked Obama if he ever spoke to Kim and Obama said no.
When asked how he plans on spending Father’s Day on Sunday, Trump said he would work and “call North Korea.”
On Michael Cohen
In an exchange with ABC News’ Kyra Phillips, Trump said he is not worried about Michael Cohen, his longtime confidant and now former personal attorney, cooperating with federal investigators.
“No, I’m not worried because I did nothing wrong,” Trump said.
On Scott Pruitt and the EPA
Trump offered perhaps the strongest words yet directed at the EPA administrator.
Trump said he wasn’t happy about certain things but his record at the EPA is “very overriding.”
“I’m not happy about certain things I’ll be honest. But he’s done a fantastic job at the EPA which is very overriding.”
When asked if he was going to fire him, Trump said he was “looking” at him but didn’t directly answer.
On the media
Trump called several news outlets “fakes” and “fraud” and said that the press treats White House press secretary Sarah Sanders unfairly. He says she should have walked out of the White House correspondents’ dinner after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes about her.
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