Donald Trump's history making press conference transcript Part 1 2017 imagesPresident Donald Trump made more history again on Wednesday with a press conference that easily made his diehard supporters very happy. He attacked the media, admitted that all the leaks within his administration are real, but then he quickly added that it’s fake news.

He didn’t specify what was fake news, but he is the master of saying something and then contradicting it within the space of a minute.

While Trump obviously feels that he can wrangle the press and change the direction of the conversation; he wound up raising even more questions than answers.

He even showed the art of creating fake news when he began the conference by spouting he had the “biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan.” But that was quickly dispelled when Peter Alexander at NBC News corrected him that Barack Obama had done better. Trump shifted and said he had the best win for Republicans, but then that was also dispelled because George W. Bush had done better. Then Trump said those were the facts he’d been given.

This was the perfect show of how fake news can be spread directly from the source. Sadly, that’s also called lying unless the source is just painfully unaware of true facts. Now if the media hadn’t been doing their job and just ran with the numbers and facts he gave, Trump would be a happy camper, but then that would also be the breaking down of our democracy.

By now, you’ve heard and seen pieces of the press conference, but below you can read it as it happened unedited. It’s quite an interesting read, even for those not into politics. You may even think it’s a transcript from one of the airplane political thriller pulp reads as it’s rather out there. You can jump to Part 2 here if you’ve read this one already. Trust me, both parts are worth your time.

donald trump rushmore bound

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

I just wanted to begin by mentioning that the nominee for secretary of the Department of Labor will be Mr. Alex Acosta. He has a law degree from Harvard Law School, great student, former clerk for Justice Samuel Alito, and he has had a tremendous career. He’s a member and has been a member of the National Labor Relations Board, and he’s been through Senate confirmation three times, confirmed, did very, very well. And so Alex, I wished him the best. We just spoke, and he’s going to be a tremendous secretary of Labor. And, also, as you probably heard just a little while ago, Mick Mulvaney, former congressman, has just been approved, weeks late. I have to say that, weeks, weeks late, Office of Management and Budget, and he will be, I think, a fantastic addition. Paul Singer just left. As you know, he was very much involved with the anti-Trump or as they say, Never Trump, and Paul left and gave us total support. It’s all about unification. We’re unifying the party and hopefully we’ll unify the country. It’s very important to me. I’ve been talking about that for a long time, but it’s very, very important to me. I thank Paul for being here, coming up to the office, he was very strong opponent, and now he’s a very strong ally, and I appreciate that. I think I’ll say a few words and take some questions.

I had this time, we’ve been negotiating a lot of different transactions to save money on contracts that were terrible, including airplane contracts that were out of control and late and terrible. Just absolutely catastrophic in terms of what was happening. And we’ve done some really good work and we’re proud of that. Right after that, you prepare yourselves for questions, unless you have no questions, that’s always a responsibility. I’m here today to update the American people on the incredible progress that has been made in the last four weeks since my inauguration.

We have made incredible progress. I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.

A new Rasmussen poll, in fact, because the people get it, much of the media doesn’t get it, they actually get it but they don’t write it, let’s put it that way, but a new Rasmussen poll came out a short while ago, and it has our approval rating at 55 percent and going up.

The stock market has hit record numbers, as you know, and there’s been a tremendous surge of optimism in the business world, which means something different than it used to. Now it means it’s good for jobs. Very different. Plants and factories are already starting to move back into the United States, big league, Ford, General Motors. I’m making this presentation directly to the American people with the media present, which, it’s an honor to have you this morning because many of our nation’s reporters and folks will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that they deserve. And I hope going forward we can be a little bit different, and maybe get along a little bit better, if that’s possible. Maybe it’s not and that’s OK too. Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, DC, along with New York, Los Angeles, in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system.

The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk about it. We have to find out what’s going on because the press, honestly, is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control. I ran for president to represent the citizens of our country. I am here to change the broken system so it serves their families and their communities well. I am talking, and really talking, on this very entrenched power structure and what we’re doing is we’re talking about the power structure. We’re talking about its entrenchment. As a result, the media’s going through what they have to go through to oftentimes distort — not all the time — and some of the media’s fantastic, I have to say, honest and fantastic — but much of it is not. The distortion, and we’ll talk about it, you’ll be able to ask me questions about it. We’re not going to let it happen because I’m here, again, to take my message straight to the people.

As you know, our administration inherited many problems across government and across the economy. To be honest, I inherited a mess. A mess. At home, and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. You see what’s going on with all of the companies leaving our country, going to Mexico and other places. Low pay, low wages.

Mass instability overseas, no matter where you look. The Middle East, a disaster. North Korea, we’ll take care of it, folks. We’re going to take care of it all. I just want to let you know. I inherited a mess. Beginning on day one, our administration went to work to tackle these challenges. On foreign affairs, we’ve begun enormously productive talks with foreign leaders, much of which you’ve covered, to move forward to security, stability and peace in the most troubled regions of the world, which there are many.

We’ve had great conversations with the United Kingdom and meetings, Israel, Mexico, Japan, China and Canada. Really, really productive conversations. I would say far more productive than you would understand. We’ve even developed a new council with Canada to promote women’s business leaders and entrepreneurs. Very important to me. Very important to my daughter, Ivanka.

I have directed our defense community headed by our great general, now Secretary Mattis, he’s over there now working very hard, to submit a plan for the defeat of ISIS, a group that celebrates murder and torture of innocent people in large sections of the world. Used to be a small group. Now it’s in large sections of the world. They’ve spread like cancer. ISIS has spread like cancer.

Another mess I inherited. We have imposed new sanctions on the nation of Iran, who has totally taken advantage of our previous administration. And they are the world’s top sponsor of terrorism. And we’re not going to stop until that problem is properly solved, and it’s not now. It’s one of the worst agreements I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody. I’ve ordered plans to begin for the massive rebuilding of the United States military.

I’ve had great support from the Senate. I’ve had great support from Congress, generally. We’ve pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military. I will tell you, that is my — I would be so happy if we never had to use it, but our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on earth in our military.

They don’t have the right equipment, and their equipment is old. I used it. I talked about it. At every stop. Depleted. It’s depleted. It won’t be depleted for long. One of the reasons I’m standing here instead of other people is, frankly, I talked about we have to have a strong military. We have to have strong law enforcement also.

So we do not go abroad in the search of war. We really are searching for peace. It’s peace through strength. At home, we have begun the monumental task of returning the government to the people to a scale not seen in many, many years. In each of these actions, I’m keeping my promises to the American people. These are campaign promises. Some people are so surprised that we are having strong borders. Well that’s what I’ve been talking about for a year and a half, strong borders. They are so surprised. Oh, he is having strong borders. Well, that’s what I’ve been talking about to the press and everybody else.

One promise after another after years of politicians lying to you to get elected. They lied to the American people In order to get elected. Some of the things I’m doing probably aren’t popular, but they’re necessary for security and or other reasons. And then coming to Washington and pursuing their own interests, which is more important to many politicians.

I’m here following through on what I pledged to do. That’s all I’m doing. I put it out before the American people, got 306 electoral college votes. I wasn’t supposed to get 222. They said there’s no way to get 222. 230 is impossible. 270, which you need — that was laughable. We got 306. Because people came out and voted like they have never seen before. So that’s how it goes. I guess it was the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan. In other words, the media is trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on pledges that we made, and they are not happy about it for whatever reason. And, but a lot of people are happy about it. In fact, I’ll be in Melbourne, Florida, at 5 on Saturday, and I heard, just heard the crowds are massive that want to be there. I turn on the TV, open the newspaper and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite.

This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Despite the fact that I can’t get my Cabinet approved. They are outstanding people. Like Senator Dan Coats, who is there, one of the most respected men in the Senate. He can’t get approved. How do you not approve him? He’s been a colleague, highly respected, brilliant guy, great guy, everybody knows it, but were waiting for approval.

So we have a wonderful group of people that’s working very hard, that’s being very much misrepresented about, and we can’t let that happen.

So if the Democrats. all you have to do is look where they are right now. The only thing they can do is delay because they screwed things up royally. Believe me. Let me list things we’ve done in just a short period of time.

Just got here. I got here with no Cabinet. Again, each of the actions is a promise I made to the American people, going over just some of them. We have a lot in the next week and weeks coming. We have withdrawn from the job killing disaster known as Trans-Pacific Partnership. We’re going to have trade deals but we’re going to have one-on-one deals, bilateral. One-on-one deals.

We directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing and called for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure, meaning plants, equipment, roads, bridges, factories. People take 10, 15, 20 years to get disapproved for a factory. They go in for a permit, it’s many, many years, and at the end of the process, they spend tens of millions of dollars on nonsense, and at the end of the process, they are rejected. They may be rejected with me, but it’s going to be a quick rejection. Not going to take years, but, mostly, it’s acceptance. We want plants and factories built. We want the jobs. We don’t want the jobs going to other countries.

We’ve imposed a hiring freeze on nonessential federal workers. We’ve imposed a temporary moratorium and new federal regulations. We issued a game-changing new rule that says for each one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated. Makes sense. Nobody’s ever seen regulations like we have.

You go to other countries, and you look at industries they have, and you say, let me see your regulations. They are a fraction, just a tiny fraction of what we have. I want regulations because I want safety. I want environmental, all environmental situations to be taken properly care of. It’s very important to me. You don’t need four or five or six regulations to take care of the same thing.

We’ve stood up for the men and women of law enforcement, directing federal agencies to ensure they are protected from crimes of violence. We’ve directed the creation of a task force for reducing violent crime in America, including the horrendous situation — take a look at Chicago and others — taking place right now in our inner cities. Horrible. We’ve ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We’re becoming a drug-infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We’re not going to let it happen any longer. We’ve undertaken the most substantial border security measures in a generation to keep our nation and our tax dollars safe and are now in the process of beginning to build a promised wall on the southern border.

[I] met with general, now Secretary Kelly, yesterday, and we’re starting that process. And the wall is going to be a great wall, and it’s going to be a wall negotiated by me. The price is going to come down, just like on everything else I’ve negotiated for the government. And we’re going to have a wall that works. We’re not going to have a wall like they have now that is either nonexistent or a joke. We ordered a crackdown on sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with federal law and that harbor criminal aliens, and we’ve ordered an end to the policy of catch and release on the border. No more release. No matter who you are.

We’ve begun a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers, and others who pose a threat to public safety. We are saving American lives every single day. Court system has not made it easy for us. And we’ve even created a new office in Homeland Security dedicated to the forgotten American victims of illegal immigrant violence, which there are many. We’ve taken decisive action to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country. Though parts of our necessary and constitutional actions were blocked by judges, in my opinion, incorrect, an unsafe ruling.

Our administration is working night and day to keep you safe — including reporters — and is vigorously defending this lawful order. I will not back down from defending our country. I got elected on defending our country. I keep my campaign promises, and our citizens will be very happy when they see the result, they already are. I can tell you that. Extreme vetting will be put in place, and it already is in place in many places. In fact, we had to go quicker than we thought because of the bad decision we received from a circuit that has been overturned at a record number. I’ve heard 80 percent, I find that hard believe. That’s just a number I heard, that they are overturned 80 percent of the time. I think that circuit is — that circuit in chaos and that circuit is frankly in turmoil.

But we are appealing that and we are going further. We’re issuing a new executive action next week that will comprehensively protect our country, so we’ll be going along the one path and hopefully winning that. At the same time we will be issuing a new and very comprehensive order to protect our people and that’ll be done sometime next week in the beginning or middle at the latest part.

We’ve also taken steps to begin construction of the Keystone pipeline and Dakota Access pipelines, thousands and thousands of jobs, and put new buy American measures in place to require American steel for American pipelines. In other words, they build a pipeline in this country and we use the powers of the government to make that pipeline happen, we want them to use American steel. And they are willing to do that, but nobody ever asked before I came along. Even this order was drawn, and they didn’t say that and I’m reading the order and I say why aren’t we using American steel? They said, that’s a good idea. We put it in.

To drain the swamp of corruption in Washington D.C., I’ve started by imposing a five-year lobbying ban on White House officials, and a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

We’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It’s a disaster. You can say, oh, Obamacare. They fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they’re not the republican people that our representatives are representing. So, we’ve begun preparing to repeal and replace Obamacare and are deep in the midst of negotiations on a very historic tax reform to bring our jobs back. Bring our jobs back to this country, big league.

It’s already happening. Big league.

I’ve also worked to install a Cabinet over the delays and obstruction of Senate Democrats. You’ve seen what they’ve done over the last long number of years. That will be one of the great cabinets ever assembled in American history. You look at Rex Tillerson. He’s out there negotiating right now. General Mattis I mentioned before. General Kelly. We have great, great people, makers with us now. We have great people. Among their responsibilities will be ending the bleeding of jobs from our country and negotiating fair trade deals for our citizens.

Now look, fair trade. Not free. Fair. If a country is taking advantage of us, we’re not going to let that happen anymore. You know, every country takes advantage of us, almost. I may be able to find a couple that don’t, but for the most part, that would be a tough job for me to do. Jobs have already started to surge. Since my election, Ford announced it will abandon its plans to build a new factory in Mexico, and will instead invest $700 million in Michigan, creating many, many jobs. Fiat Chrysler announced it will invest $1 billion in Ohio and Michigan creating 2,000 new american jobs. They were with me a week ago. You know, you were here. General Motors likewise committed to invest billions of dollars in its American manufacturing operation, keeping many jobs here that were going to leave, and if I didn’t get elected, believe me, they would have left, and these jobs, these things that I’m announcing would never have come here.

Intel just announced that it will move ahead with a new plant in Arizona that probably was never going to move ahead with. And that will result in at least 10,000 American jobs. Wal-mart announced it will create 10,000 jobs in the United States just this year because of our various plans and initiatives. They’ll be many, many more, many more. These are a few that we’re naming. Other countries have been taken advantage of us for decades, decades, and decades and decades, folks, and we’re not going to let that happen anymore. Not going to let it happen.

And one more thing, I have kept my promise to the American people by nominating a justice of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, from my list of 20, and who will be a true defender of our laws and our constitution. Highly respected. Should get the vote from the Democrats. You may not see that, but he’ll get there one way or another. He should get there the old fashioned way, and he should get those votes. This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country. Again, I say it, there’s never been a presidency that’s done so much in such a short period of time, and we haven’t even started the big work that starts early next week. Some very big things are going to be announced next week. So we’re just getting started. We will be giving a speech as I said in Melbourne, Florida, at 5 p.m., I hope to see you there. And with that, I just say God bless America, and let’s take some questions.

Mara? Mara, go ahead, you were cut off pretty violently at our last news conference.

Reporter: [ inaudible ]

Mike Flynn is a wonderful person, and I asked for resignation, he respectfully gave it. He is a man who there was a certain amount of information given to Vice President Pence, who’s with us today, and I was not happy with the way that information was given. He didn’t have to do that because what he did wasn’t wrong. What he did in terms of the information he saw. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves, in this room, were given that information. Because that was classified information that was given illegally. That’s the real problem.

You know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all, you know, “fake news” fabricated deal to try to make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people supposedly involved with all of this. They know nothing about it, never in Russia, never made a phone call, never received a phone call. It’s all fake news. It’s all fake news.

The nice thing is I see it starting to turn where people are now looking at the illegal — I think it’s very important — the illegal giving out classified information, and let me just tell you, it was given out so much.

For example, I called, as you know, Mexico. It was a very confidential classified call, but I called Mexico, and in calling Mexico, I figured, oh, well that’s nice, I spoke to the president of Mexico, had a good call, all the sudden it’s out there for the world to see. It was supposed to be secret.

Supposed to be either confidential or classified in that case, same thing with Australia. All of the sudden, people are finding out exactly what took place. The same thing happened with respect to General Flynn. Everybody saw this.

And I’m saying, the first thing I thought of when I heard about it, is how does the press get this information that’s classified? How do they do it? You know why? Because it’s an illegal process, and the press should be ashamed of themselves, but more importantly, the people that gave out information to the press should be ashamed of themselves. Really a shame.

Trump: Yes, go ahead.

Reporter: Why did you keep your vice president in the dark for almost two weeks?

Trump: Because when I looked at the information, I said, I don’t think he did anything wrong. If anything, he did something right. He was coming into office, looked at the information, and he said, “huh, that’s fine.” That’s what they are supposed to do.

They are supposed to be — he just didn’t call Russia, he called, and spoke to both ways, I think, there were 30-some odd countries, just doing his job. You know, he was just doing his job.

The thing is he didn’t tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn’t remember, so either way, it wasn’t very satisfactory to me. And I have somebody that I think will be outstanding for the position, and that also helps, I think, in the making of my decision, but he didn’t tell the vice president of the United States the facts, and then he didn’t remember, and that just wasn’t acceptable to me. Yes?

Reporter: Since you brought up Russia, I’m looking for some clarification here. During the campaign, did anyone from your team communicate with members of the Russian government or Russian intelligence, and if so, what was the nature of the conversations?

Trump: Well, the failing New York Times wrote a big long front page story yesterday, and it was very much discredited, as you know. It was— it’s a joke. The people mentioned in the story, I noticed they were on television today saying they never even spoke to Russia.

They weren’t even a part, really, I mean, there was such a minor part. I had not spoken to them—I think the one person, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him or ever met him, and he actually said he was a very low level member of, I think, committee for a short period of time. I don’t think I ever met him.

Now it’s possible I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I never met him, I never talked to him ever, and he thought it was a joke. The other person said he never spoke to Russia, never received a call, looked at his phone records, et cetera, et cetera, and the other person people knew that he represented various countries, but I don’t think he represented Russia, but represented various countries. That’s what he does. People know that. That’s Mr. Manafort, by the way, a respected man, a respected man, but I think he represented the Ukraine or Ukraine government or somebody, but everybody knew that. Everybody knew that. So these people… and he said that he has absolutely nothing to do and never has with Russia. He said that very forcefully. I saw his statement. He said it forcefully. Most of the papers do not print it because it’s not good for their stories.

So the three people they talked about all totally deny it, and I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.

President Putin called me up nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election. He called me up extremely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific, but so did almost all other leaders from almost all other countries.

That’s the exception. Russia is fake news. Russia — this is fake news put out by the media. The real news is the fact that there are people probably from the Obama administration because they are there. We have new people going in place right now, as you know, Mike Pompeo is now taking control of the CIA, James Comey at the FBI, Dan Coates is waiting to be approved. I mean, he’s a senator, a highly respected one, and he’s still waiting to be approved. But our new people are going in.

Just while you’re at it, because you mentioned this, the Wall Street Journal did a story today that was almost as disgraceful as the failing New York Times story yesterday. And it talked about — you saw it, front page — so director of national intelligence just put out, acting, a statement, any suggestion that the United States intelligence community — this was just given to us — is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true.

So they took this front page story out of the Wall Street Journal top, and they just wrote the story, but it’s not true.

I’ll tell you something. I’ll be honest. I sort of enjoy this back and forth, and I guess I have all my life, but never seen more dishonest media than frankly the political media. I thought the financial media was much better and more honest, but I will say that I never get phone calls from the media.

How do they write a story like that in the Wall Street Journal without asking me or how do they write a story in the New York Times put it on the front page. That was the story they wrote about the women and me, front page, big massive story. And It was nasty. And then they called, they said, we never said that. We like Mr. Trump. They called up my office. We like Mr. Trump. We never said that.

And it was totally — they totally misrepresented those very wonderful women. I have to tell you. Totally misrepresented. I said, give us a retraction. They never gave us a retraction, and, frankly, I then went on to other things.

Okay. Go ahead.

Reporter: Mr. President, you said today that you have biggest electoral margins since Reagan with 350 electoral votes, and, in fact, president Obama got 365 — [Trump mumbles in response] why should America — [ Trump tries to protest in response] why should America trust you when you accuse the — [ inaudible ]

Trump: Actually, I’ve seen that information around. It was a substantial difference, do you agree with that?

Reporter: You’re the president.

Trump: Okay. [laughing]

Reporter: Can you tell us, can you determine that General Flynn never wronged you? What evidence — did you ask your transcripts [inaudible] you said you’d aggressively pursue [inaudible]

Trump: We are.

Reporter: [inaudible] review of the intelligence community — what can you tell us?

Trump: First of all, about that. We now have Dan Coates, hopefully soon, Mike Pompeo, and James Comey, and they are in position, so I hope that we’ll be able to straighten that out without using anybody else. The gentleman you mentioned is a very talented man, a very successful man, and he’s offered his services, and you know, it’s something we may take advantage of, but I don’t think we’ll need that at all because of the fact that, you know, I think that we’re going to be able to straighten it out easily on its own.

As far as the general is concerned, when I first heard about it, I said, huh, that doesn’t sound wrong. My counsel came, Don McGahn, White House Counsel, and he told me, and I asked him, and he can speak very well for himself. He said he doesn’t think anything is wrong. You know, really didn’t think — really what happened after that — but he didn’t think anything was done wrong. I didn’t either, because I waited a period of time and thought about it. Well, I said I don’t see, to me, he was doing the job.

The information was provided by, who I don’t know, Sally Yates, and I was a little surprised because I said, “Doesn’t sound like he did anything wrong there,” but he did something wrong with respect to the Vice President, and I thought it was not acceptable as far as, as far as, the actual making the call. In fact, I’ve watched various programs, and I’ve read various articles where he was just doing his job. That was very normal.

You know, first everybody got excited because they thought he did something wrong. After they thought about it, it turned out he was just doing his job. So, and I do — and, by the way, with all of that being said, I do think he’s a fine man. Yes, john?

Reporter: What will you do on the leaks? You have said twice today [inaudible]

Trump: I’ve actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks.

They’re put out by people either in agencies you’ll see it stopping because now we have our people in. You know, again, we don’t have our people in because we can’t them approved by the Senate. We just had Jeff Sessions approved and just as an example. So, we are looking into that very seriously. It’s a criminal act.

You know what I say, when I was called out on Mexico, I was shocked. Cause all this equipment, all this incredible phone equipment. When I was called out on Mexico, I was, honestly, I was really, really surprised.

But I said, you know, it doesn’t make sense. That won’t happen. But that wasn’t that important to call. It was fine. I could show it to the world, and he could show it to the world, the president, who is a very fine man, by the way, same thing with Australia.

I said, that’s terrible that it was leaked, but it was not that important. But then I said to myself, what happens when I’m dealing with the problem of North Korea? What happens when I’m dealing with the problems in the Middle East? Are you folks going to be reporting all of that very, very confidential information? Very important, very, you know, I mean, at the highest level, are you going to be reporting about that too?

So I don’t want classified information getting out to the public. In a way, that was almost a test, so I’m dealing with Mexico, I’m dealing with Argentina. We were dealing with this case on Mike Flynn, all the information gets put into the Washington Post and gets put into the New York Times, and I’m saying, what’s going to happen when I deal on the Middle East? What’s happening when I’m dealing with really, really important subjects like North Korea?

We got to stop it. That’s why it’s a criminal penalty. Yes? John?

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. I just want to get you to clarify, because it’s a very important point, can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign, and on the leaks, is it fake news or are these real leaks?

Trump: Well, the leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them. I mean the leaks are real. You know what they said. You saw it and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.

So one thing that I felt it was very important to do, and I hope we can correct it, because there’s nobody I have more respect for— well, maybe a little bit, but than reporters, than good reporters. It’s very important to me. Especially in this position. It’s very important.

I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and over the course of time, I’ll make mistakes, and you’ll write badly and I’m okay with it. But I’m not okay when it is fake.

I mean I watch CNN, and it’s so much anger, hatred, and just the hatred, I don’t watch it anymore because it’s very good — he’s saying now, it’s okay, Jim, you’ll have a chance. But I watch others too. You’re not the only one, don’t feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it should be, I think it should be frankly more interesting.

I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now, but I think it’ll actually be better. People, you have a lower approval rate than Congress — I think that’s right, I don’t know Peter is that one right? I think they have, I think I heard lower than Congress. But, honestly, the public would appreciate it. I would appreciate it.

I don’t mind bad stories when it’s true, but we have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult. I think we’re setting a record or close to a record in the time of approval in the cabinet. Numbers are crazy. Some of them had them approved immediately. I still have a lot of people that we’re waiting for.

And that’s all they’re doing is delaying. You look at Schumer the mess that he’s got over there. And they have nothing going. The only thing they can do is delay. And you know, I think they would be better served by, you know, approving and making sure that they’re happy and everybody’s good.

And sometimes, and I know President Obama lost three or four, and you lose them on the way, and that’s okay. That’s fine. I think it would be much better served, John, if they just went through the process quickly. This is pure delay tactics. And they say it. And everybody understands it. Yeah, go ahead, Jim.

Reporter: The first part of my question is can you definitively say [inaudible]

Trump: I had nothing to do with it. I have nothing to do with Russia. I told you, I have no deals there. I have no anything.

Now, when Wikileaks — which I have nothing to do with —comes out and happens to give, they are not giving classified information. They are giving stuff, what was said in an office about Hillary cheating on the debates, which, by the way, nobody mentions.

Nobody mentions that Hillary received the questions to the debates. Can you imagine, seriously, can you imagine if I received the questions? It would be the electric chair, okay? He should be put in the electric chair and you’d even call for the reconstitution of the death penalty, okay? Maybe not you, John. Yes, you next.

Reporter: Mr. President, I just want to clarify an important point, I think. Did you direct Mike Flynn to discuss sanctions with the Russian ambassador? Prior to your inauguration? Would you have fired him if that information hadn’t leaked out?

Trump: I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries, his counterparts, so it certainly would have been okay with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he was not doing it. I did not direct him, but I would have directed him because that’s his job. It came out that way, and, in all fairness, I watched Dr. Charles Krauthammer the other night say, he was doing his job. And I agreed with him.

Since then, I’ve watched many other people say that. You know, I didn’t direct him, but I would have directed him if he did not do it, okay? Jim?

Reporter: Just for the record, We don’t hate you.

Trump: Okay.

Reporter: Pass that along.

Trump: Well, ask Jeff Zucker how he got his job.

Reporter: If I may follow-up on questions taking place here sir, well, not too many —

Trump: I don’t know which microphones to hold. You have other people and your ratings are not as good as some of the others.

Reporter: They are pretty good right now, actually, Mr. President.

Trump: Go ahead.

Reporter: If I may ask sir, you said earlier that WikiLeaks was revealing information about the Hillary Clinton campaign during the election cycle. You welcomed that at one campaign rally, you said you loved WikiLeaks, and in a press conference, you called on the Russians to find the missing 30,000 e-mails. I’m wondering, sir if you

Trump: Well, she was missing 33, and that was extended with

Reporter: Maybe my numbers are off

Trump: I did say 30, but it was higher.

Reporter: I’m asking, sir, it sounds you don’t have much credibility here when it comes to leaking if that is something that you encouraged in the campaign.

Trump: Fair question.

Reporter: If I may ask you —

Trump: Do you mind me saying something?

Reporter: Yes, sir.

Trump: So in one case, you are talking about highly classified information. In the other case, you’re talking about John Podesta saying bad things about the boss. If John Podesta said that about me and working for me, I would have fired him so fast your head would have spun. He said terrible things about her. But It was not classified information. In one case, you are talking about classified. Regardless, if you look at the RNC, we had a very strong, at my suggestion, and I give Reince great credit for this. At my suggestion, because I know something about this world, I said I want a very strong defensive mechanism.

I don’t want to be hacked. And we did that. And you have seen that they tried to hack us and failed.

The DNC did not do that. If they did it, they could not have been hacked. They were hacked. Terrible things came in. You know, the only thing I think is unfair is some of the things were so — when I heard some of those things, I picked up the papers next morning, and said, “Oh, this will be front page,” but it was not even in the papers.

Again, if I had that happen to me, it would be the biggest story in the history of publishing or newspapers. I would have been the headline in every newspaper. I mean, think of it.

They gave her the questions to the debate, and she should have reported herself. Why didn’t Hillary Clinton announce that, I’m sorry, I have been given the questions to a debate or a town hall, and I feel that it’s inappropriate, and I want to turn in CNN for not doing a good job.

Reporter: If I may follow up on that what was asked about. You said the leaks are real, but the news is fake. I don’t understand. It seems there’s a disconnect there. If the information coming from the leaks is real, then how can the stories be fake?

Trump: The reporting is fake.

Reporter: I have to ask — yes, sir?

Trump: Here’s the thing. The public is — you know, they read newspapers, they see television, they watch. They don’t know if it’s true or false. Because they are not involved. I’m involved. I’ve been involved with the stuff all my life. But I’m involved. I know when you are telling the truth or when you are not.

I just see many, many untruthful things. And I’ll tell you what else I see. Tone. I see tone. You know the word tone. The tone is such hatred. I’m really not a bad person, by the way. No, but You know, but the tone is such — I do the get good ratings, you have to admit that. But the tone is such hatred.

I watched this morning a couple of the networks, and I have to say, Fox and Friends in the morning, they are very honorable people — not because they are good — because they hit me when I do something wrong, but they have the most honest morning show. That’s all I can say.

It’s the most honest, but the tone, Jim, if you look, the hatred, the — I mean, sometimes —

Reporter: We don’t hate you, sir.

Trump: Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 in the evening. You just take a look at the show. It’s a constant hit. The panel is almost always exclusive anti-Trump.

The good news is he doesn’t have good ratings, but the panel is almost exclusive anti-Trump, and the hatred and venom from his mouth. And hatred from other people on your network. I’ll say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it. And I just think you’d be a lot better off. I honestly do. The public gets it.

You go to rallies, they’re screaming at CNN, they want to throw their placards at CNN. You know, I think you would do much better by being different. But you just Take a look. Take a look at some of your shows in the mornings and evening.

If a guest comes out and says something positive about me, it’s brutal. Now, they’ll take this news conference, I’m actually having a very good time, okay, but they’ll take this news conference — don’t forget, that’s the way I won. I used to give you a news conference every day and made a speech, which was every day. That’s how I won, with news conference and probably speeches. I certainly did not win by people listening to you people. That’s for sure.

But I’m having a good time. Tomorrow, they will say, Donald Trump rants and raves at the press. I’m not ranting and raving. I’m telling you you’re dishonest people, but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it, but tomorrow’s headlines are going to be Donald Trump, rants and rants. I’m not ranting. Go ahead —

Reporter: A follow-up —

Trump: Should I let him more — sit down — well —

Reporter: Just because of the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir —

Trump: Changing it from fake news, though.

Reporter: I know —

Trump: To very fake news —

Reporter: I know but aren’t you—

Trump Go ahead. Go ahead. [ laughter ]

Reporter: Real news, Mr. President —

Trump: You’re not related to our new —

Reporter: I am not, sir. [ laughter ] I do like the sound of Secretary Acosta —

Trump: I looked at the name, and said wait a minute, is there any relation —

Reporter: I’m sure you checked it out.

Trump: Yeah I checked it and they said, no, sir, I said, do me a favor, go back and check the family tree.

Reporter: Aren’t you concerned, sir, you are undermining the people’s faith in the first amendment, freedom of the press, the press in the country when you call stories you don’t like fake news? Why not just say it’s a story I don’t like —

Trump: I do.

Reporter: When you call it fake news, you’re undermining the confidence in the news media.

Trump: Here’s the thing, I understand, you’re right about that. Except I know when I should get good and when I should get bad. And sometimes I say, wow, that’s going to be a great story, and I’ll get killed. I know what’s good and bad, I’d be a good reporter, but not as good as you. I know what’s good. I know what’s bad. And when they change it, and make it really bad, something that should be very positive, they’ll make it okay. They’ll even make it negative. I understand it. So because I’m there. I know what was said. I know who is saying it. I’m there.

So it’s very important to me. Look, I want to see an honest press. When I started out today by saying it’s so important to the public to get an honest press. The public doesn’t believe you people anymore.

Maybe I had something to do with that, I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is as Howard used to say, right, of course, he had some questions also, but if you were straight, I would be your biggest booster. I would be your biggest fan in the world, incoming bad stories about me.

But If you go, as an example, you’re CNN, I mean, it’s story after story after story is bad. I won. I won.

The other thing, chaos. There’s zero chaos. We are running — this is a fine-tuned machine. Reince happens to be doing a good job, but half his job is putting out lies by the press. You know, I said to him yesterday, you know, this Russia scam you are billing so that you don’t talk about the real subject, which is illegal leaks. But I watched him yesterday working so hard to try to get the story proper.

I’m saying, here’s my chief of staff, a really good guy, did a phenomenal job at RNC, I may have won the election, right, won the presidency, but we got some senators, all over the country, take a look. He’s done a great job. I said to myself, you know, I said to somebody there, look at Reince working so hard putting out fires that are fake fires. They are fake. They are not true. Isn’t that a shame because he’d rather be working on health care. He’d rather be working on tax reform, Jim. I mean that. I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right.

I understand there’s bias, maybe, by Jeff, whatever reason, but I understand that. But you’ve got to be at least a little bit fair. That’s why the public sees it. They see it’s not fair. You take a look at some of your shows and you see the bias and the hate, and the public is smart. They understand it. Okay.

Yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. [ inaudible reporter question ] I think they don’t believe it—I don’t think the public — that’s why the Rasmussen poll has me through the roof. I don’t think they believe it. I guess one of the reasons I’m here today is to tell you the whole Russian thing, that’s a ruse. That’s a ruse.

And by the way, it would be great if we could get along with Russia, just so you understand that. That tomorrow you’ll say: “Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia. This is terrible.” It’s not terrible. It’s good. We had Hillary Clinton try and do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? A thing called nuclear weapons and other things like lots of things that are done with uranium including some bad things. Nobody talks about that.

I didn’t do anything for Russia. I’ve done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20 percent of the uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember, with the stupid plastic button made us look like a bunch of jerks. Here take a look. He looked at her, like, what the hell is she doing, with that cheap plastic button? Hillary Clinton — that was a reset. Remember it said reset. Now, if I do that, oh, I’m a bad guy, but if we could get along with Russia, that’s a positive thing. We have a very talented man, Rex Tillerson, who is going to be meeting with them shortly and I told them, I said, I know politically it’s probably not good for me. Hey, the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles offshore right out of the water. Everyone in this country is going to say, oh, it’s so great. That’s not great. That’s not great. I would love to be able to get along with Russia. Now, you had a lot of presidents that have not taken that tack.

Look where we are now. Look where we are now. So if I can — now, I love to negotiate things. I do it really well and all that stuff. But it’s possible I won’t be able to get along with Putin. Maybe it is. I just want to tell you, the false reporting by the media, by you people, the false, horrible fake reporting makes it much harder to make a deal with Russia. And probably Putin said, you know, he’s sitting behind his desk saying, you know, I see what’s going on in the United States, they follow it closely. It’s going to be impossible for President Trump to ever get along with Russia because of all the pressure he’s got with this fake story. Okay? And that’s a shame. Because if we could get along with Russia, and by the way, China and Japan and everyone, if we could get along, it would be a positive thing, not a negative thing.

Tax reform’s going to happen fairly quickly. We are doing Obamacare, we are in the final stages. We should be submitting the initial plan in March, early March. I would say. And we have to, as you know, statutorily and for reasons of budget. We have to go first. Frankly, the tax would be easier, in my opinion, but for statutory reasons and for budgetary reasons, we have to submit the health care sooner, so well submitting health care sometime in mid-March, and after that, we’re going to come up, and we’re doing very well on tax reform, yes.

Donad Trump’s History Making Press Conference Part 1Continue To Part 2

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