President Trump's full, unedited interview with Meet the Press

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By Chuck Todd

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. President, welcome back to Meet the Press.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start right in, what happened last night?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, you had a situation that was very bad because the night before, they shot down an unmanned drone. And the unmanned is a very big factor. The fact that there was not a person on it, a U.S. person on it, or anybody. And that had an impact on me. I said, "Well, you know, we got a little problem." And I think they did that on purpose because they understand that they will be hit very hard if that were a plane with a person in it. And I think they knew that there was nobody there. So we had a very, you know, modest but pretty, pretty heavy attack schedule.

CHUCK TODD:

And this is a pre-plan that you had, something that if they did something, you had something --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, we had it --

CHUCK TODD:

-- these were sort of ready-made plans --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Sure, we have many of them --

CHUCK TODD:

-- to use if necessary, right?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Oh, I have so many targets you wouldn't believe.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We have targets all over.

CHUCK TODD:

So did you green light something? Or had you said --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Nothing’s --

CHUCK TODD:

"If we do it, I'll do this." What was, what was the order you gave?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Nothing is green lighted until the very end because --

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- things change, right?

CHUCK TODD:

So you never gave a final order?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, no, no. But we had something ready to go, subject to my approval. And they came in. And they came in about a half an hour before, they said, "So we're about ready to go." I said, "I want a better definition --"

CHUCK TODD:

Planes in the air? Were planes in the air?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no. "We're about ready to go." No, but they would have been pretty soon. And things would have happened to a point where you wouldn't turn back or couldn't turn back. So they came and they said, "Sir, we're ready to go. We'd like a decision." I said, "I want to know something before you go. How many people will be killed, in this case Iranians?" I said, "How many people are going to be killed?" "Sir, I'd like get back to you on that," great people these generals. They said, came back, said, "Sir, approximately 150." And I thought about it for a second and I said, "You know what? They shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it. And here we are sitting with 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead." And I didn't like it. I didn't think it was, I didn’t think it was proportionate. Now that doesn't mean --

CHUCK TODD:

So what should the response be right now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think the response should be -- Well, first of all, as you know, we've done very massive sanctions. We're increasing the sanctions now. But the response is always going to be very strong. I built up a lot of capital. I've had a lot of people that aren't Trump fans saying, "I can't believe." You know, a lot of them said, "We're going to be in World War III the first week." Didn't work out that way. We're doing great in North Korea. We're doing great in a lot of different places. We knocked out the caliphate in Syria. We knocked out 100%. Remember I was going to leave it?

CHUCK TODD:

It’s not 100%. Not everybody says it’s 100%, even --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, no, the caliphate.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, the caliphate, which is the land.

CHUCK TODD:

The land.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

The area --

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- is 100%. You never knock these people out.

CHUCK TODD:

No, you won't.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

These people are stone cold crazy. And they walk into a store and they'll be wired up for bombs and they'll blow -- it's a horrible thing. So I never say that. I don't want to do what other presidents have done or other people have done saying, "We won," because you don't win so conclusively. I would love to have the day where we can win. You know, I remember when I was young I'd go on airplane and I'd walk up, I'd buy a ticket, I'd go on a plane. Nobody thought about bombs and nobody thought about security. You'd walk in, you'd give the ticket to the person at the gate and you'd walk into a plane. Today it's like, a big deal. So what happened is I said, "I'm not going to do it. I'll save it. If they do something else, it'll be double."

CHUCK TODD:

You think they were trying to provoke you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, I don't think so. And I think it was very important that they, to them, don't forget, their economy --

CHUCK TODD:

They don’t -- they, they --you don't think they intended to get you to respond militarily?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, their economy is shattered. Shattered.

CHUCK TODD:

So what's the message you think they’re sending?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Their inflation is through the roof. They’ve never had, the highest in the world right now. Worse than any place. They're, they’re living not well.

CHUCK TODD:

So put yourself in their shoes, what do you think the message they're trying to send you with this, with this drone?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they're not going to have a nuclear weapon. This isn't about the straits. Do you know that China gets 91% of its oil from the straits? We don't even need the straits. We have, we are now, because of -- since I came in, we're the number one energy producer in the world. Okay? Actually by far. And if I get the pipelines approved through the environmental process, which I will in Texas, we'll go up by another 25%. But we're way ahead of Russia, we're way ahead of Saudi Arabia. And I think that they want to negotiate. I don't think they like the position they're in. Their economy is, is absolutely broken.

CHUCK TODD:

So you sent a letter to the Ayatollah via Prime Minister Abe. And the Ayatollah seemed to say, "I'm not talking to you."

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I didn't send a letter, no.

CHUCK TODD:

What was the --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I didn't, I didn’t send a letter. No, no --

CHUCK TODD:

Was it a verbal message? What did Prime Minister Abe carry on your behalf?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Prime Minister Abe's a great guy. He's a friend of mine. And he obviously is close to them. I think he was their, their largest buyer of oil from before.

CHUCK TODD:

But did he, did he deliver a message from you to them?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No. He wanted to do something.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

According to Prime Minister Abe, they went to him, it's according to the prime minister, and they said, "What do we do with Trump? Can we make a deal? Is there something that can be done?" That's what Prime Minster Abe told me. I said, "Do you mind if I say that if I have to?" And he said, "Not particularly." So they came to Prime Minister Abe. He then called me. I said, "Send the following message: you can't have nuclear weapons. And other than that, we can sit down and make a deal. But you cannot have nuclear --"

CHUCK TODD:

No other --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

"-- weapons."

CHUCK TODD:

-- conditions other than that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You cannot have nuclear weapons. And they would have had them with President Obama. He gave them $150 billion --

CHUCK TODD:

What is your deal?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Remember this.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand. But what is your deal --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But, Chuck, you have to remember this.

CHUCK TODD:

-- going to look like with them?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Let me explain something. Number one, you have to look at the sites. Some of the most important sites we weren't even allowed to look at or inspect, okay? Number two, the term was not long enough.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

There’s like a short number of years left. After a very small number of years, he’s talking about a country, after a very small number of years, they have a free pass to nuclear weapons. You can't do that. So I want to be able to inspect all sites. They cannot have ballistic missiles, which under the agreement, isn't even covered. And as you know, that agreement wasn't even approved by Congress. A lot of people don't know that. That was an agreement that he couldn't get through Congress. He was not authorized, really, to do that deal.

CHUCK TODD:

Congress did give him some authorization to do that. It gave him the power to cut the deal.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It wasn't ratified by Congress.

CHUCK TODD:

It wasn't a, it wasn’t a treaty.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It was very, very short of what it should have been. You know that.

CHUCK TODD:

Don’t you think though -- does it at all tell -- what does it tell you that the Iranians haven't violated the agreement yet? That they are trying hard not to violate this agreement?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, you see, I think they have violated the agreement because I think in the areas that we're not allowed to inspect they're doing things. And I think they have been for years.

CHUCK TODD:

Europeans don't think they're violating the agreement.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I don't care about the Europeans. The Europeans are going out and making a lot of money. The Europeans are fine. But they're going out and making a lot of money. They’re selling, in France, they're selling cars to Iran. They're doing other things. And let me tell you, we're very good to Europe. We take care of them. NATO, we spend a tremendous amount, a disproportionate amount. On trade, the European Union's taken, really, they have really taken advantage of us for a long time. Just to finish, we have great relationships with Europe. I don't mind Europe getting in the middle. Europe wants to make a deal too. Europe would love to see a deal be made.

CHUCK TODD:

Are these going to be separate deals?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

By the way, Europe --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you want to do a separate deal with Iran? Or do you want to get everybody involved in the same deal? Get the Russians, get the Chinese?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't care which, what kind of a deal. It can be separate or it could be total.

CHUCK TODD:

But it’s one-on-one talks, you and the Ayatollah?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

All it is -- all it is --

CHUCK TODD:

Is it one-on-one talks, you and the Ayatollah, or you and the President?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It doesn't matter to me. Here's what I want, anything that gets you to the result. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. It's not about the straits. You know, a lot of people covered it incorrectly. They're never mentioned. They cannot have a nuclear weapon. They'd use it. And they're not going to have a nuclear weapon.

CHUCK TODD:

Did you send a message --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

And it's not about the oil.

CHUCK TODD:

-- last night? You know, Reuters is reporting that you sent a message to the Iranians saying, "I don't want war. I want to talk."

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wrong. It’s wrong. I did not send that message. I did not send that message. I don't know who --

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don’t know who would have said that.

CHUCK TODD:

Send a message right now to the Ayatollah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I mean it's fake news.

CHUCK TODD:

Then send a message right now to the Ayatollah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wouldn't be much different than that message.

CHUCK TODD:

Which is?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I'm not looking for war and if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that. But you can't have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk? Good. Otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next --

CHUCK TODD:

No pre-conditions?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- three years. Not as far as I'm concerned. No pre-conditions.

CHUCK TODD:

And you'll talk anywhere?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Here it is. Look, you can't have nuclear weapons. And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.

CHUCK TODD:

If you, are you, do you feel like you were being pushed into military action against Iran by any of your advisors?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah, you have some serious hawks.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I have some hawks. Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay? But that doesn't matter because I want both sides. You know, some people said, “Why did you put --” You know, I was against going into Iraq for years and years. And before it ever happened I was against going into Iraq. And some people said, "Oh I don't know." I was totally against and I was a private citizen. It never made sense to me. I was against going into the Middle East. Chuck, we've spent $7 trillion in the Middle East right now.

CHUCK TODD:

Why is this our problem? This is a proxy war. Iran and Saudi Arabia are in a fight to the death out there.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah. You're right. You're right. And that's another thing I've done --

CHUCK TODD:

Candidate Trump, candidate Trump for years would have said, "Not our fight." Why are you involved?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Because of nuclear weapons. It has nothing to do with oil.

CHUCK TODD:

So the minute you get them to do nuclear weapons, you want out of the Middle East?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

That's all I care. I don’t care about -- Well, we're going to protect Israel. But I have nothing to do, absolutely nothing -- and we're going to protect Saudi Arabia. Look, Saudi Arabia is buying $400 billion worth of things for us. That's a very good thing.

CHUCK TODD:

You used to say we don't get anything in return --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We are now.

CHUCK TODD:

-- for protecting Saudi Arabia.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know that this --

CHUCK TODD:

You feel like they're now paying for --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- this morning --

CHUCK TODD:

-- the American protection?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- I spoke to the Crown Prince, this morning. And we had a great conversation. I said, "This is a very expensive operation. You and the other nations that we're protecting have to pay."

CHUCK TODD:

Did you talk --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

And he said, "Yes."

CHUCK TODD:

Did you talk to him about the U.N. report about Jamal Khashoggi?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I did not because it really didn't come up in that discussion. I called about one reason.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I called about one -- I didn't call about that. I called about one reason. There’s a very expensive operation. Unlike President Obama and unlike everybody else, I’ll say others too, not just President Obama. You've got to pay for it. We cannot, we, we just don't want to go in and, and protect the Middle East and protect Saudi Arabia and everyone else and not get reimbursed.

CHUCK TODD:

So this is why you're overruling Congress and, and letting all these weapon sales happen in Saudi Arabia?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Economic development and that. But economic development.

CHUCK TODD:

Never mind the humanitarian disaster --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

A million jobs.

CHUCK TODD:

-- that's taking place in Yemen?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

A million jobs -- No it's going to end. It's going to end. By the way, who's causing it though? If you look at it, Iran goes into Yemen. They start firing rockets at Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has to protect themselves, Chuck. But it's, it’s a million jobs and probably more. They buy massive amounts, $150 billion worth of military equipment that, by the way, we use. We use that military equipment. And unlike other countries that don't have money and we have to subsidize everything. So Saudi Arabia is a big buyer of America product. That means something to me. It's a big producer of jobs.

CHUCK TODD:

It makes you overlook some of their bad behavior?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

I mean --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't like anybody's bad behavior.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to -- The United Nations said they'd like the United States to order the FBI to investigate Jamal Khashoggi's death and possibly MBS’ --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think it's, I think it’s --

CHUCK TODD:

-- involvement in it. Will you allow the FBI to do that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think it's been heavily investigated.

CHUCK TODD:

By who?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

By everybody. I mean --

CHUCK TODD:

By the FBI?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I’ve seen so many different reports.

CHUCK TODD:

What about the FBI?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Here's where I am, you ready?

CHUCK TODD:

Uh-huh.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Iran's killed many, many people a day. Other countries in the Middle East, this is a hostile place. This is a vicious, hostile place. If you're going to look at Saudi Arabia, look at Iran, look at other countries, I won't mention names, and take a look at what's happening. And then you go outside of the Middle East, and you take a look at what's happening with countries. Okay? And I only say they spend $400 to $450 billion over a period of time --

CHUCK TODD:

So --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- all money, all jobs, buying equipment --

CHUCK TODD:

That's the price. As long as they keep buying --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no.

CHUCK TODD:

-- you'll overlook some of this behavior.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But I'm not like a fool that says, "We don't want to do business with them." And by the way, if they don't do business with us, you know what they do? They'll do business with the Russians or with the Chinese. They will buy -- We make the best equipment in the world, but they will buy great equipment from Russia and from China. Chuck --

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah. Alright.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Take their money. Take their money, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

What would a candidate Trump have said about a president who, on his watch, had Iran shooting down a drone, a Venezuelan dictator thumbing his nose at you, Obamacare still on the books and no results yet on the border? The border getting tough --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, let's, let’s take a look. Let’s take a look --

CHUCK TODD:

I just say -- what would candidate Trump have said about that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Okay, let's take a look. The border's doing great. Mexico's been fantastic. They've been trying to get a deal with Mexico for 45 years, right? So for 45 years, they couldn't get a deal. I got one in one day. I said, "We're going to put tariffs on and we're going to either have a deal or not. We agreed in one day." Mexico just moved 6,000 people to their southern border. 6,000 troops to their southern border. The border's working out well. And the wall is being built. I mean, a lot of people don't like to talk about it. We're building the wall. We will have 400 miles of wall built by the end of next year and that's hard because the Democrats don't want to approve it. We just beat them in a big lawsuit, as you know, in Washington, in D.C. We just beat them in a very big lawsuit.

CHUCK TODD:

But does it frustrate you that your border numbers are worse than Obama’s?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, because the people are coming up because our economy is so good. They're pouring up because the economy is so good. Obama had a lousy economy. It was a dead economy.

CHUCK TODD:

Can I ask you about that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Our, our economy is good.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me show you this chart. Do you see that chart?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

It's the unemployment rate from the peak of the recession.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Right.

CHUCK TODD:

Your economy is great. I'm not saying it's not great. But this recovery started and in the 28 months that you've been president and the last 28 months of Obama's presidency, he averaged more new jobs than your first 28 --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

That's because he started off with a, with such a bad base. I mean, he hit --

CHUCK TODD:

Ok. But it is -- is it not a continuation?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, but Chuck, you have to understand, nobody was working. The whole place was a disaster. And I don’t-- I'd never take that away.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But it's very easy --

CHUCK TODD:

Alright.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- because when that turned around they pumped a tremendous amount of money into the economy. He also had a Federal Reserve person who kept the interest rates low. I don't. I don't have that privilege.

CHUCK TODD:

Sounds like you do now. Do you feel like you have --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, no.

CHUCK TODD:

-- do you feel you have sent --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He raised them far too fast.

CHUCK TODD:

-- the threat --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He raised them far too fast.

CHUCK TODD:

-- your threat to demote him, do you think that's had an impact?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I didn't ever threaten to demote him.

CHUCK TODD:

There's been some talk that you might demote him to the number two slot.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I, I, I'd be able to do that if I wanted but I haven't suggested that. I mean --

CHUCK TODD:

That’s not a threat --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, it’s not --

CHUCK TODD:

-- that’s just a reminder that you can?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, I have the right to do that. But I haven't said that. What he's done is $50 billion a month in quantitative tightening. That's ridiculous. What he's done is he raised interest rates too fast.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you worry it's going to hurt --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I've been proven right.

CHUCK TODD:

-- your reelection?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think the economy's so strong we're going to bull through it. But I'm not happy with his actions. No, I don't think he's done a good job. I think this, if he didn't raise rates Obama had very low rates. So Obama was playing with funny money. I wasn't. I'm playing with the real stuff.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wait, wait. Obama had somebody that kept the rates very low. I had somebody that raised the rates very rapidly. Too much. He made a mistake. That's been proven. And yet my economy is phenomenal. We have now the best economy, maybe in the history of our country. One -- just to finish off, when I took over, this country, the economy was ready to collapse. You take a look at the numbers. It was ready to collapse. And if I didn't win --

CHUCK TODD:

I just showed you the numbers. It was not ready to collapse.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No no, no, that’s -- You showed me unemployment numbers.

CHUCK TODD:

That was unemployment. It was not ready --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Excuse me.

CHUCK TODD:

-- to collapse.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Excuse me. Take a look at your GDP, take a look at your jobs, take a look at your optimism.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Take a look at all of the charts. When I took over from election day on, I mean, you show me one chart which, where I did --

CHUCK TODD:

It was the unemployment rate.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- well in that too, but I'm not --

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- talking about that. Take a look at some of the optimism charts and everything else. It went from 57 to 92. Nobody's ever seen anything that --

CHUCK TODD:

You're right. You're right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- right after I won.

CHUCK TODD:

The optimism, you're right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, optimism is a big part of success in business. Okay.

CHUCK TODD:

You were always hard on Obama. You thought he wasn't enough of a cheerleader.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He was not a cheerleader.

CHUCK TODD:

If you could have one do over as president, what would it be?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, it would be personnel.

CHUCK TODD:

Who is it?

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I would say if I had one do over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general. That would be my one --

CHUCK TODD:

That’s your, in your mind, that's your worst mistake?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, that was the biggest mistake.

CHUCK TODD:

Is Bill Barr your Roy Cohn?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He should’ve never -- I think he's a very talented, very--

CHUCK TODD:

But do you know what I mean by that? You've always said --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, look --

CHUCK TODD:

“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Is he your Roy Cohn?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You have to understand, Roy Cohn, but I had many, many lawyers. I mean, a lot of lawyers. Roy was one of them. He was a tough guy. Bill Barr is a -- First of all, Bill Barr --

CHUCK TODD:

Is he cut from the same cloth, do you think?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Bill Barr is a very, he’s equally tough. He's a fine man. He's a fine man. The job he's done is incredible. He's brought sanity back. I think he’s real -- I don't think, I know, he's respected. You know, he loves the Department of Justice. He saw what was happening. He has done a spectacular job. Now he's in the process of doing something and I stay away from it. I really, I stay away from it. But I think he feels that what's happened in this country was a very bad thing and very bad for our country.

CHUCK TODD:

I want to ask what's going down with the, these, the children in these migrant camps. The stories are horrible, Mr. President. You have children without their parents. You have kids taking care of kids.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

You've, you’ve read these reports. I know people are coming to you. I know you think this is the Democrats' problem.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, it --

CHUCK TODD:

Forget it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It was --

CHUCK TODD:

Why aren't you doing something?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Are you ready?

CHUCK TODD:

They're in terrible shape down there, Mr. President. Down in Homestead, Florida, that's where I grew up, it’s, the conditions are terrible.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I agree. And it's been --

CHUCK TODD:

Do something.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- that way for a long time.

CHUCK TODD:

Do something.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

And President Obama built the cages. Remember when they said that I built them? And then it was 1914 --

CHUCK TODD:

Do two wrongs --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Excuse me.

CHUCK TODD:

-- make a right?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It was 2014. Chuck, just listen for one second.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok. Alright.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Separation, President Obama, I took over separation. I'm the one that put it together. What's happened though are the cartels and all of these bad people, they're using the kids. They’re, they’re, it's almost like slavery.

CHUCK TODD:

But let's not punish the kids more.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No this has been happening --

CHUCK TODD:

Aren’t you -- the kids are getting punished more.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You're right. And this has been happening long before I got there. What we've done is we've created, we’ve, we’ve ended separation. You know, under President Obama you had separation. I was the one that ended it. Now I said one thing, when I ended it I said, "Here's what's going to happen. More families are going to come up." And that's what's happened. But they're really coming up for the economics. But once you ended the separation. But I ended separation. I inherited separation from President Obama. President Obama built, they call them jail cells. They were built --

CHUCK TODD:

Let's talk about what's happening now.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- by the Obama --

CHUCK TODD:

Your administration, and--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I'm just telling you --

CHUCK TODD:

--you’re not doing the recreation. You're not even schooling these kids anymore. You've gotten rid of all that stuff.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We're doing a fantastic job under the circumstances. The Democrats aren't even approving giving us money. Where is the money? You know what? The Democrats are holding up the humanitarian aid.

CHUCK TODD:

It looks like these kids are being used as, as some sort of -- is it hostages? They're being held --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, they are being used.

CHUCK TODD:

-- hostage.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

They are being used by very bad people on the other side where they actually get --

CHUCK TODD:

But now they’re politically being used.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

--paid, where money is being made using them because our laws are so bad. Because if you have a child, you have an advantage. You know that better than anybody. And what should happen, Chuck --

CHUCK TODD:

But why let the political debate hurt these children?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Chuck, we could --

CHUCK TODD:

They could be impacted for years.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

If the Democrats would change the asylum laws and the loopholes, which they refuse to do because they think it's good politics, everything would be solved immediately. But they refuse to do it. They refuse to do it.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know what? If they change those, I say, I used to say 45 minutes. It's 15 minutes. If they changed asylum and if they changed loopholes everything on the border would be perfect.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this, why do you think Nancy Pelosi has held off her impeachment caucus?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Because I think she feels that I will win much easier. I mean, I've been told that by many people.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think impeachment's good politics for you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think I win the election easier. But, you know, I'm not sure that I like having it. Look, I did nothing wrong. I was spied on. What they did to me was illegal. It was illegal on the other side. I did nothing wrong. So impeachment's a very unfair thing because nothing that I did was wrong. And if you look at the Mueller report, there was no collusion. This was all about collusion.

CHUCK TODD:

Nowhere in the Mueller report --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

This was about conspiracy.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, Mr. President, you say no collusion. There is not a single, I've read this Mueller report, both, both parts of it --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Use the word collusion, or use --

CHUCK TODD:

-- there's not one place it says nothing happened.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Use the word collusion. Use the word conspiracy.

CHUCK TODD:

It never says no collusion.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I'll be honest with you, nobody even mentions Russia anymore since the Mueller report. They don't mention it, in all fairness.

CHUCK TODD:

I --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Nobody mentions Russia anymore. And it was about Russia. It was a hoax.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wait a minute.

CHUCK TODD:

-- during the campaign --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wait, wait. We'll give you the time that you need.

CHUCK TODD:

What hoax it was?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It was a hoax. The Russian hoax with me.

CHUCK TODD:

You don't believe it happened?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I had nothing to do --

CHUCK TODD:

You don't believe the Russians interfered --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

What they did with --

CHUCK TODD:

-- in our election?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- respect to the election is different. We're not talking about that. We're talking about --

CHUCK TODD:

The idea that you were conspiring.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- my campaign working is a hoax.

CHUCK TODD:

Fair enough.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Okay. Good.

CHUCK TODD:

But going back, on WikiLeaks, knowing now that that was stolen foreign material, do you regret using it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I, I wouldn't have. But this was well-known. I think it was in papers. And, again, I'm going back now a long ways. But --

CHUCK TODD:

It was all rumored to be Russian stolen property.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Wait a minute. But --

CHUCK TODD:

So why'd you use it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

--but how would I even know that? I made a speech. It was in there about WikiLeaks. I'm not a --

CHUCK TODD:

Right, but I'm saying knowing now --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- WikiLeaks person.

CHUCK TODD:

Knowing that they are a Russian intelligence --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Hey, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD:

-- asset --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Ok.

CHUCK TODD:

-- do you regret it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Let me tell you-- WikiLeaks, et cetera, that's not my deal in life. You know, in other words, I don't know about WikiLeaks. It was a strange name. But there were stories about something WikiLeaks that they had information. And I say it in a joking manner at a speech. Joking. Everybody laughing. Everybody having a -- And they made it like it was serious. No, I don't want anything bad to happen to our country. Anything bad happens to this country, I will end it and I'll end it fast. I don't want any of that to happen.

CHUCK TODD:

There's one part in the Mueller report, your, your son, Donald Trump Jr., did cooperate and appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Right. That's right.

CHUCK TODD:

In the Mueller report, it says that he did not voluntarily sit for an interview with Mueller's team. And then there's a redaction. A Grand Jury redaction. Did he involuntarily sit?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't know. I can only tell you this --

CHUCK TODD:

Is it possible he was --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- my son --

CHUCK TODD:

-- subpoenaed by the, --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I, I really don't know.

CHUCK TODD:

-- you don't know if he was subpoenaed?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But let me tell you what I do know.

CHUCK TODD:

So did you not read the Mueller report?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Let me tell you, I read much of it.

CHUCK TODD:

The unredacted version or no?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I read -- No I didn't.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I didn't. But let me just tell you --

CHUCK TODD:

So if he was subpoenaed --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know what I read? I read the --

CHUCK TODD:

-- if he was subpoenaed you wouldn't know?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- I read, I read the conclusion.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, he was subpoenaed. Ultimately he was subpoenaed to sit before the Senate Intel --

CHUCK TODD:

But was he --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- and he did that.

CHUCK TODD:

Was he subpoenaed by Mr. Mueller?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't know. But I don't think so.

CHUCK TODD:

If he was subpoenaed was he going to appear before the Grand Jury or was he --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't know.

CHUCK TODD:

-- just going to plead the fifth?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I really don't know. But you can certainly ask him. I just --

CHUCK TODD:

But you don't know?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- don't know. It was, it was -- He sat, my son, he's been treated so unfairly. He sat for many, many hours before these committees. I think, my impression is, that Mueller took all of the information from the committees and he used that information. How much, how much can you talk about something? Remember the phone calls, the three phone calls? It was such a big deal. Three phone calls that were made to a special type number.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Okay? And everybody said, "Oh, he called his father." That went on for a year. In other words, before this so-called meeting and after the meeting, “He called his father,” the biggest story. Headlines all over the place. And then it turned out, and I give Mueller credit because Mueller was the one that found out through I guess the phone companies or whatever. Somebody found out, maybe through the FBI. Big investigation on who the calls were made. If they were made to me, it would have sounded like you, wait a minute, they turned out that it wasn't to me. It was to a real estate person and a NASCAR person. Two great people, have nothing to do with Russia. Have nothing to do. And you know what? People hardly even put the story in. My son was treated unfairly. My son, he spent 20 some odd hours and then he went back again.

CHUCK TODD:

But he never --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He was a very innocent, young man and he was treated very badly.

CHUCK TODD:

You're going to see Vladimir Putin in a week.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yes. I'm going to see many people.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to address him directly about interference in 2020?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I may.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to tell him --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I may.

CHUCK TODD:

-- not to do it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I may if you'd like me to do it, I'll do that.

CHUCK TODD:

Because some -- Well, some people think that your answer --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know what? Here's what you do --

CHUCK TODD:

-- that your answer last week invited him to do it again.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Oh, that's not true. That's not true.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to tell him not to and what are the consequences?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

My answer last week was both. I said both. I'd do both. Except they didn't put it on. And when they did put it on people understood. But they didn't put it on because they put a different segment on. So they ask me a question. But when I said, "Yeah, I'd do both," people saw that in the last version of it because the thing played like all weekend and on Friday. So it's just more fake news. Chuck, there's so much fake news. It would be so good if --

CHUCK TODD:

That's why I'm interviewing you one-on-one --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

That's fine. That's why I like --

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

That’s why I like doing --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think you've been --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But I like live interviews better, you know why? Because you can't cut the answers.

CHUCK TODD:

Guess what? I’m not -- You're going to enjoy the fact that I'm not going to over-edit this interview. That I promise you.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Ok. Good.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Do you think you've been more successful in business or the presidency?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think, well, I can't be more successful in politics. I mean, I ran once and I'm president, right? So you have to say that’s about -- there’s nothing-- it's never happened before, right? So I'm one for one and I hope to be two for two. But my business has been a tremendous success. I actually said to the lawyers, "I'd like to show my financial statement. My financial statement's great." I built a great business --

CHUCK TODD:

You could release your tax returns any day you want.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I actually don’t believe -- You don't learn from tax returns. And I'm under audit, Chuck. I've been saying it. I'm under audit. But you don't learn from tax returns.

CHUCK TODD:

I was under audit.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But you would learn from a financial --

CHUCK TODD:

I had my tax returns.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- statement. And I would like to release it. I've built a great company. They like to -- For instance, banks. Banks. I could have borrowed from banks. But I didn't need to because I had money. I did things, in fact, a lot of people over the last couple of years were really surprised. “He paid all cash, he didn't use banks.” I think I've been tremendously successful in business. I think I've been tremendously successful in show business with The Apprentice. I mean, I did one show and it was a great hit, as you know, from NBC.

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, sir.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

And I guess you have to say I've been really successful at politics.

CHUCK TODD:

The Republican Party has changed in your image. Do you think you caused that change or do you think the party was changing and you were the leader they selected?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think common sense caused it. You know, I'm about common sense. People say, "Are you conservative?" I guess I'm conservative, but I'm about common sense. I'm about we need borders. We're going to have borders. And we have strong borders. And by the way, Mexico has done a great job. It's slowed down so much. But we have an amazing economy and people want to come up. But it's slowed down so much. But I'm about borders. I'm about great health care. Obamacare is a disaster. I got rid of the individual mandate.

CHUCK TODD:

By the way, why is the economy doing so well if Obamacare is still law of the land? You had said in 2011 --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We are managing --

CHUCK TODD:

-- "Obamacare's going to destroy the economy." Obamacare's still here and --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Because I've managed it great.

CHUCK TODD:

-- the economy's great.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I had a choice. I could have let it implode and killed it or I could have managed it --

CHUCK TODD:

You're still trying to kill it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No, no.

CHUCK TODD:

Why are you still trying to kill it with the getting rid of preexisting -- If you -- This lawsuit that the Department of Justice joined, it could get rid of --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I am in favor --

CHUCK TODD:

-- coverage of preexisting conditions.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I am in favor of preexisting conditions. I am fighting --

CHUCK TODD:

So get rid -- so drop the lawsuit.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We will --

CHUCK TODD:

So drop your aspect of the lawsuit.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It has nothing to do with it. The lawsuit is one thing. We are going to put in a bill, total preexisting conditions. And the Republicans are in favor of preexisting conditions.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. President, you had full Republican control and they couldn't pass anything.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Chuck, are you ready?

CHUCK TODD:

What makes you think you're going to get it done this time?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We had a negative vote from John McCain. It was a surprising vote. But I got rid of the worst part of Obamacare which was the individual mandate.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We will always protect pre-existing conditions. And the reason Obamacare continues is my decision. Wait, I made a big decision.

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We have a man named Azar, our secretary, he's fantastic man, Alex. A total pro. I could have managed Obamacare so it would have failed or I could have managed it the way we did so it's as good as it can be. Not great, but it’s as good -- It's too expensive and the premiums are too high. I had a decision to make. I could have politically killed Obamacare. I decided not to do it. But still it's not good. We're going to come up with great health care if we win the House, the Senate and the presidency.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you prepared to lose?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No. Probably not. Probably not.

CHUCK TODD:

Very hon -- I mean, you joke --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It would be much better, it would be much better if I said, “Yeah.”

CHUCK TODD:

You’re, you’re --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It would be much easier for me to say, "Oh yes." No I'm probably not too prepared to lose. I don't like losing. I haven't lost very much in my life.

CHUCK TODD:

You didn't like the fact that you lost the popular vote. That bothered you, didn't it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I think it was a -- I mean, I'll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes cast that I don't believe. I look at California.

CHUCK TODD:

Mr. President.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Excuse me.

CHUCK TODD:

But that's a --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Take a look at Judicial Watch, take a look at their settlement where California admitted to a million votes. They admitted to a million votes.

CHUCK TODD:

A million votes of what?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Take a look at judicial --

CHUCK TODD:

What are you talking about?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Judicial Watch made a settlement. There was, there was much --

CHUCK TODD:

About what?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- there was much illegal voting. But let me tell you about popular vote. Do you have a second?

CHUCK TODD:

Yes, because you were, you were a big fan of it --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

There are two --

CHUCK TODD:

-- until you weren’t

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I like popular vote.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think I do better with a popular vote. But I didn't campaign for the popular vote.

CHUCK TODD:

You're right. I --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You didn't see me campaigning in California or New York. If I -- if it was up to the popular vote, I would have been I think even better. I won 306 to 223, which was a lot in the Electoral College. But it's like you're training for the 100-yard dash versus the mile.

CHUCK TODD:

Yep. You’re, you're totally right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

It's totally different.

CHUCK TODD:

If it’s the popular vote, you campaign differently.--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I went to Wisconsin. --

CHUCK TODD:

-- I don't disagree.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- She forgot. I went to Michigan. She didn't go to Michigan enough. I won Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. I won places that she didn't do a good job. What can I tell you? No, maybe I did a great job. You know, I never get credit for that. They always say she was a lousy candidate. I actually think that Hillary Clinton was a great candidate. She was very smart. She was very tough. She was ruthless and vicious.

CHUCK TODD:

You'd rather run against her again, wouldn't you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

You only talked about her in your announcement speech.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No.

CHUCK TODD:

You spent a lot of time talking about her.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

No. I would actually rather run against Biden.

CHUCK TODD:

Than Hillary.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think that would be my preference.

CHUCK TODD:

Why?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Sleepy Joe. He's sleepy. She was not sleepy. Let me just tell you something, the Electoral College is tougher for a Republican to win than the popular vote. At least me. I feel that I go to three places. I went to 19 or 21 states. I went to Maine four times because I wanted to get one. And I did get it. And that's the beauty of the Electoral College.

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know, I've been a proponent of the other sometimes and I change. But I will tell you, the Electoral College brings you to many of the states in this country.

CHUCK TODD:

You, you have joked about a third term. You've joked about these things.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I only joke.

CHUCK TODD:

Okay.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I joke. And I say “Watch, I will drive Chuck Todd crazy.”

CHUCK TODD:

You will, you will accept the re -- Ok. You will --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yes, there won’t be a third term.

CHUCK TODD:

You will accept the results?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

100%. Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

And you will accept whatever happens in 2020.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Sure.

CHUCK TODD:

You lose, you’ll be like -- you're not going to like it but you walk out.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

In fact, I said at a speech recently, I said, "Watch. We'll drive the media crazy. Let's go for a third time and then a fourth." And some of the media said, "He's going to do it."

CHUCK TODD:

Speaking of driving people crazy, when you were asked about Mike Pence in 2024 and you, and you, and you paused a minute about endorsing him as your successor, that got a lot of people going, "Is Mike Pence 100% on your ticket in 2020?"

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, look, look -- 100%, yes.

CHUCK TODD:

100%?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Oh yeah.

CHUCK TODD:

There is no wiggle room?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

He's been, he’s been a terrific vice president. He's my friend and --

CHUCK TODD:

Ok.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- a lot of things. No. Zero. Zero.

CHUCK TODD:

So why'd you hesitate in endorsing him in being, succeeding you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Because it was a surprise question.

CHUCK TODD:

You hadn’t thought about it?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I mean, you know, I’m not even thinking of it. It's so far out. I mean, It's so far out. That would be the only reason. Now what happens in 2024? I don't know that Mike is going to run. I don't know who's running or anything else. I will say this, I think it's a tremendous embarrassment to Joe Biden that Obama has not, that President Obama, I like to say that because it's respect for the office and respect for him.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you speak to any of the former presidents?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Who's the last one you did?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, I speak to Bush.

CHUCK TODD:

With President Bush?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I speak to Jimmy Carter.

CHUCK TODD:

You do? What about President Obama?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I have not spoken to him --

CHUCK TODD:

But George W. Bush, you do?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- pretty much from the beginning.

CHUCK TODD:

And Jimmy Carter?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I have spoken to Bush, I have spoken to Jimmy Carter, yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you get --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I like Jimmy Carter. You know, Jimmy Carter's oftentimes come to my defense. I don't necessarily agree with the way he ran things and that's okay. And he understands that and so do I. But he came to my defense on numerous occasions. And he thinks that I was treated the worst of anybody he's ever seen by the press.

CHUCK TODD:

During --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I don't think he's including you.

CHUCK TODD:

Every new season, every new season of The Apprentice, you had something new to roll out. What's your big new idea for your re-election?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think that the economy has tremendous upward potential despite the fact that we're doing really well. I think when we really unleash some of the things --

CHUCK TODD:

But what's your new idea?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- that we're going to do --

CHUCK TODD:

What is the new big idea?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I also think that health care is going to be very important for me. I will tell you. If we win the House, the Senate and the presidency I will get tremendous health care because --

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think Democrats --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

-- Obamacare is a disaster.

CHUCK TODD:

Do you think Democrats won the House because of health care?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I think they won because of preexisting condition.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Nothing to do with me. Because if you know almost every race that I campaigned for somebody they won. But I couldn't devote too much time to the House, there's too many people. But if you look at some of the Congressmen that I did go for and went for, they won like in Kentucky, et cetera, et cetera.

CHUCK TODD:

So your one new idea is going to be health care?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Just one thing. Ohio governor, he was behind, great guy.

CHUCK TODD:

He was.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Mike won. Georgia, President Obama was there. Oprah was there. Michelle Obama was there. It was going to be a big celebration. She was the star of the party. I went there for Brian. Brian Kemp. Brian Kemp won. Florida, Ron DeSantis --

CHUCK TODD

He ran as you.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

He was going to lose. He was low in the polls. I endorsed him. He went up 60 points after I endorsed him. Ron won. And he's been a great governor of Florida. You know, I've always heard that an endorsement is nice to have but it doesn't mean anything. I'm driving people up 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%.

CHUCK TODD:

Well, when you show up, you bring a lot of people.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

We bring something very good.

CHUCK TODD:

I'm curious, did you see Jon Stewart's pretty passionate plea on behalf of 9/11 responders in front of Congress?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I was very impressed, yes.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to -- He's frustrated with Mitch McConnell. He feels like Mitch McConnell's the guy standing in the way of this bill. You're a New Yorker first. I know that in you. I've got to think Jon Stewart got to you.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Yeah, well --

CHUCK TODD:

Are you going to tell Mitch McConnell to --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I liked what Jon Stewart did. I actually did. And I actually have a meeting on that subject next week. So we'll see what happens.

CHUCK TODD:

So you think you will --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

You know it's a very complicated subject for a lot of reasons.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that it is. But --

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

But I have a meeting --

CHUCK TODD:

-- do you think that Jon Stewart had a point that Congress hadn't done enough?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

I have a meeting with that, on that subject with -- Well, when you say Congress, billions of dollars has been passed.

CHUCK TODD:

I understand that.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Okay, billions.

CHUCK TODD:

Right. But the fund was about to run out.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Memorials have been, have been built.

CHUCK TODD:

That’s right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Tremendous amounts of money. But there are still people that are sick. I have a meeting on it next week.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Thank you.

CHUCK TODD:

I appreciate the time.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Thank you very much.

CHUCK TODD:

Thank you, sir.