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Trump’s unwieldy ‘Fox and Friends’ interview, annotated

President Trump, for the first time, said that Michael Cohen represented him in efforts to silence Stormy Daniels in an interview with "Fox & Friends" April 26. (Video: Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

President Trump gave his first interview in months Thursday morning on “Fox and Friends,” weighing in on topics from Ronny Jackson to Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels to James Comey to Kanye West. Trump was often factually inaccurate, sometimes rambling and predictably defiant. He even made news when it comes to his role in the Daniels case.

Below is the transcript, with our annotations. To see an annotation, click on the yellow, highlighted text.

AINSLEY EARHARDT: Well, here's the presidential seal. There is the White House and inside the White House is the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

BRIAN KILMEADE: And why would you be bringing that up, Ainsley?

EARHARDT: He joins us now by phone. Thank you so much for being with us, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Well, good morning, and I picked a very, very special day, because it's Melania's birthday, so I said let's do it on Melania's birthday. So, happy birthday to Melania.

KILMEADE: All right. Hopefully, they'll be visits in between, but have you decided on or do you want to tell us what you got her?

TRUMP: Well, I better not get into that, because I may get in trouble. Maybe I didn’t get her so much.

I'll tell you what. She has done — I got her a beautiful card. You know, I'm very busy —

KILMEADE: At this point —

TRUMP: — to be running out looking for presents, okay? But I got her a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers. And she did a fantastic job with France. I'll tell you what, the people of France are just — were spellbound by what happened with their great president, who just left, Emmanuel, and he is a wonderful guy and —

STEVE DOOCY: You guys really got along great.

TRUMP: — with a wonderful wife. Well, we did and —

DOOCY: You guys got along great.

TRUMP: We did, and, you know, they are both terrific people. And, Brigitte — and we had a fantastic time. And much more importantly, we accomplished a lot. We really accomplished a lot. More than anybody knows. You'll be seeing what we accomplished.

DOOCY: Well, give us a hint. Give us a hint.

TRUMP: Well, I think we really came to recognize the — you know, I can say it from my standpoint, but he is viewing, I believe, Iran a lot differently than he did before he walked into the Oval Office, and I think that's important. He understands where I'm coming from with respect to Iran. Iran is a real problem for this country. The president made a horrible deal. When I say the president, I'm talking about past administration made a horrible deal giving $150 billion, giving $1.8 billion in cash — in actual cash carried out in barrels and in boxes from airplanes. It's inconceivable — $1.8 billion. And all they do is scream 'death to America, death to America.' And by the way, they're not screaming it so much anymore. They were screaming it with him. They don’t scream it with me. We haven't seen their little boats circling our ships in the ocean lately, because they know if they do circle the ships, they're not going to be there very longer.

KILMEADE: All right, I want to come back to that a little later, because we do want to see if that — because you have a big deadline coming up with the Iranian agreement.

TRUMP: I do.


TRUMP: I do.

KILMEADE: — when it comes to Ronny —

DOOCY: Your call.

KILMEADE: — Jackson, the word came out from John Roberts —


KILMEADE: — now confirmed that he is no longer going to be a candidate to lead the VA. In his statement is this. “The allegations against me are completely false and fabricated. If they had any merit, I would not have been selected, promoted, and trusted to serve in such a sensitive and important role as physician to three presidents over 12 years. In my role as a doctor, I have tirelessly worked to provide excellent care for all my patients. In doing so, I have always adhered to the highest ethical standards.” Last night the report was you had a huddle. Is that what you decided last night? Is that what all of you decided?

TRUMP: Well, I even told him a day or two ago. I saw where this was going. And, you know, they're very upset because Mike Pompeo who was again, first in his class at West Point, top in his class at Harvard Law School. A brilliant guy, a great guy, and somebody I get along with very well. You know, Mike got through, and they thought they had him stopped. The Democrats are obstructionists. It's horrible what they're doing. They're not approving people. They're taking them out to the maximum 30 hours. That's a lot of time — 30 hours — to interview people that are going to be approved. I mean, they go 30 hours, and then people will vote, and it's a disgrace. In fact, they had a report the other day that at this rate it will be nine years before —

DOOCY: It's unbelievable.

TRUMP: — they're allowed to come into government. So you have that have given up everything. They've given up their jobs. Top-line people — brilliant people. They want to come in and help us in government, and Chuck Schumer and the group take, you know, years to approve them — years. We have judges that are waiting. Top-of-the-line people. The best people in our country and — And, by the way, they're going to be approved but they take them out until the very, very end. And they said over nine years before they get approved —

KILMEADE: But Mr. President —

TRUMP: — because they're using every little trick in the book.

KILMEADE: — Mitch McConnell could keep them seven days a week until they reach their 30 hours and make them, these men and women, stay until this gets done. Why won't he do that?

TRUMP: Well, he should be doing that, and I think he will be doing that. And he should be doing that. Honestly, the Republicans — look, we have some absolute warriors. We have — when I — I just watched your show. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows and Matt Gaetz and DeSantis, and so many — Corey Lewandowski. We have people — Diamond and Silk are warriors, by the way. How about Diamond and Silk? They've become amazing. You know, that started off like somebody was talking about them on the Internet. They were these two women — these two beautiful, wonderful, women. And I said, well, let me check it out. It took me about two seconds to say start them — it's incredible. So, Diamond and Silk, these are all warriors. We have great people in the Republican Party, and I think that, in one way, it's showing how bad, how obstructionist these Democrats are. It's a disgrace what's happening.

EARHARDT: Do you think the obstructionist window — as Dr. Jackson says, these allegations are baseless, and they're just attacking him? This is not true, he served our country, but yet, he's still withdrawing his name. So does the obstructionist win when your nominees don’t fight back?

TRUMP: Well, I could say yes. I can also say no, because Doc Ronny — you know, we call him Doc Ronny, we call him Admiral Ronny. He's an admiral, highly respected, a real leader. And I watched what Jon Tester of Montana, a state that I won by, like, over 20 points. You know, really, they love me and I love them. And I want to tell you that Jon Tester — I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state. He took a man who was just an incredible man — an incredible man respected by President Obama. He gave him his highest rating. You saw what President Obama said.


TRUMP: President Bush — he was the doctor to President Bush, to President Obama and the family. He's been my doctor. And he runs a fantastic operation. You know, they have many doctors, and they run a fantastic operation. And, honestly, I said it to him. He didn’t come to me. I said, you know, Doc, you run a great operation. How do you think you'd do at the VA? Now, we can talk about experience, but the VA — when you think about 13 million people —

DOOCY: Sure.

TRUMP: — you could take the head of the biggest hospital corporation of the world, and it's peanuts, compared to the VA, so nobody has experience, you know. It's a big monster. And I'm really proud of the job we've done for the VA, because we got — we're working right now on Choice and really big — but we got rid of so many rules and regulations that made it impossible, and we're really doing great at the VA.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: But I want somebody that's going to be great. He would've done a great job —

DOOCY: Did —

TRUMP: He's got a tremendous heart.

DOOCY: Any idea who you might —

TRUMP: You know, these are all false accusations that were made. These are false, and they're trying to destroy a man. By the way, I did say welcome to Washington. Welcome to the swamp. Welcome to the world of politics.


TRUMP: But for Jon Tester to start bringing up stuff like 'Candy Man' and the kind of things he was saying, and then say well, you know, these are just statements that are made.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: There's no proof of this. And he has a perfect record. He's got this beautiful record unblemished. His son is a wonderful boy. Goes to Annapolis, at the top of his class. One of the finest cadets. For him to be doing this to this man and this family, I think Jon Tester has to have a big price to pay in Montana, because I don’t think people in Montana — the admiral is the kind of person that they respect and admire, and they don’t like seeing what's happened to him.

DOOCY: Well, the admiral has officially thrown in the towel. Any idea who you might nominate next?

TRUMP: I do, actually, but I better not give it. Maybe we'll do it on my next call. I do — I think we're going to have somebody great.

DOOCY: All right.

TRUMP: Somebody that's more — you know, look, the admiral is not a politician which is what I liked, by the way.

DOOCY: Is your nominee somebody in politics right now?

TRUMP: Somebody with political capability, yes.

DOOCY: All right. Meanwhile, let's talk a little bit about your former FBI director James Comey, who you fired.

TRUMP: Right.

DOOCY: He was on TV last night. He said —

TRUMP: I did a great thing for the American people by firing him.

DOOCY: Well, he says he's not a leaker. He disputed what Anderson Cooper had said. But what's interesting is we've learned through Catherine Herridge's reporting is that apparently the guy he gave the secret memos to, Dr. Richman at Columbia University — he had this special government employee status where he had — you know, he could look at secrets. He had a badge to the building. And also, apparently, the memos were leaked to a wider group of people or at least two, maybe three, including former U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Your opinion on what Mr. Comey is doing on his book tour and the fact that he had a special friend at Columbia University with an FBI badge.

TRUMP: Look, Comey is a leaker, and he's a liar and not only on this stuff. He's been leaking for years. He's probably been using his friend, the so-called professor who now turns out to have FBI clearance, which he never said. He even lied about that, because he never said that in Congress. He said he gave it to a friend, and he gave it to a friend to leak classified information. It's all classified. It was totally classified. So illegally — he did an illegal act, and he said it himself in order to get a special counsel against me. So the special counsel — and by the way, and Intelligence Committee and everybody else has found no collusion. There's no collusion with me and the Russians. Nobody's been tougher to Russia —


TRUMP: — than I am. You can ask President Putin about that. There's been nobody. Between the military and the oil and all of the other things that I've done — the aluminum tax. They send us a lot of aluminum, and I put tariffs on aluminum coming in. The 60 people that we sent out — the 60 so-called diplomats. Nobody's been tougher. Nobody's even been close to as tough as me, and we hear this nonsense. So there's no collusion whatsoever. Well, Comey — what he did, Brian, was terrible. He leaked classified information in order to try and get a special counsel —

DOOCY: He says it wasn’t classified, Mr. President. He says it wasn’t classified.

TRUMP: Oh, it's — well, it's totally classified. And he also leaked the memos, which are classified. Nobody unclassified them. And those memos were about me, and they're phony memos. He didn’t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff. For instance, I went to Russia for a day or so — a day or two because I own the Miss Universe pageant. So, I went there to watch it, because it was near Moscow. So I go to Russia — now, I did go there — everybody knows. The locks are there, the planes are there. He said I didn’t stay there a night. Of course, I stayed there. I stayed there a very short period of time, but, of course, I stayed. Well, his memo said I left immediately. I never said that. I never said I left immediately. So he said — and you know, the funny thing, he does these memos and then fake news CNN, who's a total fake — you know, they give Hillary Clinton the questions to the debate, and nobody — can you imagine, by the way, if you gave me the questions to a debate? They would have you out of business —


TRUMP: — and they'd have me — you better get out of this campaign. They don’t even bring it up. I mean, CNN — fake news CNN actually gave the questions to the —

KILMEADE: Yes, but don’t worry about them.

EARHARDT: I want to ask you —

TRUMP: No, no — no, no, but think of it. How bad is that? So anyway — so Comey leaked and, by the way, also what he did with CNN in order to placate them, you saw that whole scenario. This is a big mistake, this book. He is guilty of crimes, and if we had a Justice Department that was doing their job instead of spending $8 million trying to find —

DOOCY: It's your Justice Department. Mr. President — Mr. President, you're the Republican in charge —

TRUMP: You're right, yes, you're right.

DOOCY: You've got a Republican running it.

TRUMP: But here's what — I answer this all the time. Because of the fact that they have this witch hunt going on with people in the Justice Department that shouldn’t be there — they have a witch hunt against the President of the United States going on — I've taken the position — and I don’t have to take this position, and maybe I'll change — that I will not be involved with the Justice Department. I will wait until this is over. It's a total — it's all lies, and it's a horrible thing that's going on.


TRUMP: A horrible thing, and yet, I've accomplished, with all of this going on, more than any president in the first year in our history. And everybody —

DOOCY: Okay.

TRUMP: Even the enemies and the haters admit that.


TRUMP: We have accomplished more than any president in the first year, by far. If you look at regulations, and the big tax cuts, and Judge Gorsuch — so many things — and many other judges. But the big thing — the tax cuts, the regulations — nobody's done what we've done — what I've done despite what's going on. So I'm very disappointed in my Justice Department, but because of the fact that it's going under, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved. I may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace. It's an absolute —

KILMEADE: All right.

TRUMP: — disgrace. And by the way, the only collusion is the collusion with the Democrats and the Russians. You take a look at what's going on there. They wouldn’t even give their server — the DNC, Democratic National Committee, wouldn’t even give its server to the FBI. So what kind of an FBI — they break down doors for Paul Manafort early in the morning. His wife is in bed, like, at 5 or 6 in the morning. And they undo the lock for Michael Cohen early in the morning. And yet, they walk into the DNC, and they won't give them the server. They said we're not giving you the server. Oh, okay, we'll leave. That's not the FBI. That's a fix.

KILMEADE: Let's talk about Michael Cohen. Yesterday, through his attorney, he's going to be taking the Fifth. What's your reaction to that being that you worked with him for a couple of decades —

TRUMP: I did. He —

KILMEADE: — as your attorney.

TRUMP: He's a good person. He's a great guy.

KILMEADE: What's at stake for you, Mr. President?

TRUMP: Brian, you know Michael. Michael's been on your show, I'm sure, a lot. You know, Michael —

KILMEADE: We know.

TRUMP: — is a good person. Let me just tell you that Michael is in business. He's really a businessman at fairly big businesses, I understand. And I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. Michael is a businessman. He's got a business. He also practices law. I would say probably the big thing is his business, and they're looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business. I can tell you he's a good guy. He sometimes —

KILMEADE: But isn't your business — isn't his business your attorney, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I have many, many — just so you understand, I have many attorneys. I have attorneys — sadly, I have so many attorneys you wouldn’t even believe it.

DOOCY: How many — how much of your — Mr. President, how much of your legal work was handled by Michael Cohen?

TRUMP: Well, he has a percentage of my overall legal work — a tiny, tiny little fraction. But, Michael would represent me and represent me on some things. He represents me — like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal he represented me. And, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this —

EARHARDT: Then why is he pleading the Fifth?

TRUMP: — which would have been a problem. Because he's got other things. He's got businesses, and from what I understand they're looking at his businesses, and I hope he's in great shape.


TRUMP: But he's got businesses, and his lawyers probably told him to do that. But I'm not involved, and I'm not involved — and I've been told I'm not involved.

KILMEADE: Right, Mr. —


TRUMP: That just came out of the newspapers.

EARHARDT: Mr. President —

TRUMP: I've been told I'm not involved in that.

EARHARDT: We want to get to Kanye West. He tweeted that he loves you, that you're his brother, and —

TRUMP: He's got good taste.

EARHARDT: — the left goes ballistic.

What's your reaction?

TRUMP: Yes. Well, they do. You know, I have known Kanye a little bit, and I get along with Kanye. I get along with a lot of people, frankly. But Kanye looks, and he sees black unemployment at the lowest it's been in the history of our country, okay? He sees Hispanic unemployment at the lowest it's been in the history of our country. He sees, by the way, female unemployment — women unemployment the lowest it's been in now almost 19 years. He sees that stuff, and he's smart. And he says you know what, Trump is doing a much better job than the Democrats did. And by the way, if they ever got in and started putting back all these rules and regulations where you can't breathe, where businesses go out of business, our country would be in big trouble.


TRUMP: And had I not gotten elected, Hillary would have come in. She would have added more rules and regulations. We would have been out of business, because you saw what was happening. We were going down.

KILMEADE: Yes, and a couple of things on top of that. There's a bigger picture. Kanye West comes out. Regardless of what he says he doesn’t have anything personally against you. He likes you even if he doesn’t agree with everything. Then he has other people in the black community. Like, Chance the Rapper comes out and says black people don’t have to be Democrats. Have Republicans done a bad job ignoring the black community up until now?

TRUMP: You know, I think it was just a custom. People don’t realize, you know, if you go back to the Civil War, it was the Republicans that really did the thing. Lincoln was a Republican. I mean, somehow it changed over the years, and I will say I really believe it's changing back. Remember, I was going to get no black votes?

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: I was going to get none? Well, I got a lot. I got a lot of support, you know, and I should have gotten much more. Now — in fact, I used to go around saying what do you have to lose? I'd say that at speeches, remember? I'd go into a stadium. I'd talk about the African American vote. I said the education is not good. The — obviously, the law enforcement that your community — the crime is at levels that nobody's ever seen before. You know, I'd go through like seven, 10 stats. I'd say vote for me. What do you have to lose?

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: So now they've voted for me, crime is way down, and really importantly, the unemployment picture —


TRUMP: — is the best it's been in the history of our country for African Americans.

DOOCY: Mr. President, what does it say, though, about the political discourse in this country that when somebody comes out and says I like Donald Trump, suddenly the political left goes out and destroys them? Shania Twain was asked a couple of days ago about, well, if you could've voted for Donald Trump would you have? And she said, yes, I would have. And then she got so destroyed online she had to come out and apologize. And then yesterday, the same thing with Kanye West. Suddenly, people are saying the guy's out of his mind because he supports you.

What happened to being able to have a different point of view?

TRUMP: All right, I'll tell you what happened. Shania, who I think is terrific, but she made a mistake by sort of saying I wish I didn’t, you know, go public with it, but we know how she feels. But people have done that, and they're amazed at what happens to their business because we have tremendous support. We have tremendous fans. If I ever called for a rally in Washington, D.C., we'd have millions of people coming into Washington because they love what's happening.


TRUMP: So when I see a Kanye sticking to his guns or when I see others, and there are plenty of others, sticking to their guns and coming out and saying that you have a young lady who's been very much in the news in the last three or four days —

KILMEADE: Candace Owens.

TRUMP: — because she is — she is fantastic. She's like the hottest thing out there now. If you have people do that, they become much more popular. Remember, we won the election, and we won it easily. You know, a lot of people say, oh, it was close.


TRUMP: And by the way, they also like to always talk about [the] Electoral College. Well, it's an election based on the Electoral College. I would rather have a popular election, but it's a totally different campaign.


TRUMP: It's as though you're running — if you're a runner you're practicing for the 100-yard dash as opposed to the one-mile. The Electoral College is different. I would rather have the popular vote, because it's — to me, it's much easier to win.

KILMEADE: Yes, it's a totally different set of goals as opposed to the Electoral College.

TRUMP: Yes, but we have an Electoral College —


TRUMP: I got 306, and she got what, 223. So, remember —


TRUMP: — there was no way to break 270.

KILMEADE: All right.

TRUMP: I heard that on CBS and NBC and ABC. They're all fake news.


TRUMP: I heard that for so long — and CNN. But I heard that for so long. There is no way. So what they're trying to do is suppress the vote. Everyone goes home and says, you know, I really like Donald Trump, but I've watched on the news — and they don’t know it's fake news. I've taught them it's fake news. I've watched on the news that he can't win, so let's go to a movie, darling, and then we'll come home, and we'll watch —

KILMEADE: And you'll find out in the midterms whether they go with the darling home or they go to the movies.

TRUMP: But I think that —

KILMEADE: Let's talk about —

TRUMP: I think he'll do better than people think in the midterms.

KILMEADE: Mr. President —

TRUMP: Did you know it's very —


TRUMP: The economy is so strong, and jobs are so good that I think we're going to surprise — you know, we won an election yesterday in Arizona. Nobody talks about it. They had these massive booths set up for CNN and everybody. They had these big booths set up because they were hoping — you know, they spent a fortune on the Democrat, and the Republican won — Lesko. And, you know what, nobody talks about it.

KILMEADE: All right. But, Mr. President, you can argue — you can argue that the midterms are going to be decided on big things like a meeting that you're going to have one-one-one with Kim Jong Un. How much are you looking at the summit that starts tomorrow with South Korea to look at what you're going to be doing when you sit down with North Korea? And on top of that, we know this is confidential, but can you give us any more information on the one-on-one that Mike Pompeo had with Kim Jong Un? A lot of people are hungry for some details.

TRUMP: Well, I can. First of all, we're doing very well with North Korea, and we'll see how it all comes out. Again, Brian, I'm not like Obama where you go in and you have a Kerry, who's the worst negotiator I've ever seen. He goes in for the Iran deal, he never leaves. He should've left. He should've just left. He would have — could have made a much better deal. But — so it could be that I walk out quickly — with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows? But I can tell you right now, they want to meet. They wanted to go to the Olympics. Look, it was very, very nasty with Little Rocket Man and with the buttons — and, you know, my button's bigger than — everybody said this guy's going to get us into nuclear war. Let me tell you. The nuclear war would have happened if you had weak people. We had weak people. This should have been settled long before I came into office. This is a much different ballgame than if they did it five or 10 or 20 years ago. This is a much more dangerous ballgame now. But I will tell you it's going very well. Mike Pompeo did go there. He wasn’t supposed to meet with Kim Jong Un, but he did. He — you know, they arranged, actually while he was there, to say hello. We have incredible pictures of the two talking and meeting, which I'd love to release. If we can, I'll do that, actually. It's not a bad idea.

KILMEADE: So it was just a hello, Mr. President?

TRUMP: No, it was more than a hello. They got along. They were with each other for, you know, more than an hour.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: They spoke, and he also spoke with his counterparts in North Korea. They had a great meeting. He then left. It was very, very secret — very, very quiet. They had a great meeting — he left. And, you know, when I watch — liked I watched sleepy-eyes Chuck Todd the other day saying why is the president giving up so much and North Korea's giving up nothing? This was at the beginning of “Meet The Press,” which, I mean, this guy shouldn’t even be —


TRUMP: — on the show. So I said to myself, well, wait a minute, I'm seeing it just the opposite. I haven't given up anything. I haven't even talked about it. I haven't given up anything. We're not giving up much.

EARHARDT: When are you going to meet with him?

TRUMP: I'm not giving up much. They've given up denuclearization, testing, research. We're going to close different sites. And I'm saying to myself, wait a minute. All of these things he's given up, and we haven't even really that much asked them because we would have asked them but they gave it before I even asked. So I have this guy, fake news — he's on television saying why am I giving up something? I never gave up anything. The people have to understand how dishonest the news is. And in all fairness to Fox, you guys don’t always treat me great, but you treat me fairly. You know, it's not like Fox is perfect for me. They're not — they're tough, but at least it's fair. When you look at some of the others — you look at like a CNN, they'll have a council of seven people, and of the seven people, every one of them is against me. I'm saying, where do we — where do they even find these people? I appreciate the —

KILMEADE: I'm not your doctor, Mr. President, but I would — I would recommend you watch less of them.

TRUMP: I don’t watch them at all. I watched last night.

DOOCY: Well, that makes it easy.

TRUMP: I'll tell you what. I watched leaking, lying Comey last night, and I did — I did — I hated to do it. You know, one of the reasons people say you're still looking good, Mr. President. How do you do it? Well, one of the things I've been able to do, which is something I never thought I had the ability — I would always watch when I was — now, frankly, I don’t have time for two reasons. There's too much, and I don’t have time. But I would watch — whether it's good or bad, I'd always watch. I have an ability — I don’t watch NBC anymore. They're as bad as CNN. I don’t — and by the way, I made them a fortune with “The Apprentice.” Think of that one. I made them — and I did 19 episodes (ph).

DOOCY: Your alma mater.

TRUMP: No, but I made them a fortune.

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: You would think that these guys would treat me great. I made them a fortune. So they treat me horribly —

DOOCY: Okay.

TRUMP: — and they treat me falsely. But just one thing. I don’t watch things now. I can put it out of my mind, and I never, ever thought that that would be possible. And you know what that does? It keeps you on the ball. It keeps you — you keep your sanity, and it works very well. But last night I did watch —

EARHARDT: Mr. President, I have one question.

TRUMP: I did watch a liar-leaker and his performance, by the way, was horrible. And I will say this. Anderson Cooper was surprisingly tough, and he did a good job.

DOOCY: He did.

EARHARDT: Mr. President, real quickly, have you decided on a date to meet with Kim Jong Un?

TRUMP: We have a decision to be made. We have three or four dates, and that includes —


TRUMP: — locations. We have five locations —


TRUMP: — and that will all be narrowed down. I can only say this. When I came into office, people thought we were going into nuclear war, okay, and now they're saying wow —


TRUMP: — it looks like that's going to be taken care.

DOOCY: Mr. President —

TRUMP: I think we're doing very well. Let's see what happens.

DOOCY: Okay. We're running out of time, but when we came down after your first month in office, and we did that big famous now interview in the East Room —

TRUMP: Right.

DOOCY: — Ainsley asked you a question to grade your first month in office. Now, fast-forward. You've been in office over a year. Last year, you said, in the first month I give myself an A for effort and a C for messaging, because you were having trouble — the White House was — explaining what you were doing. How would you grade yourself now?

TRUMP: Look, I'm fighting a battle against a horrible group of deep-seated people — drained the swamp — that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges against me, and they're not bringing up real charges against the other side. So we have a phony deal going on, and it's a cloud over my head. And I've been able to do — to really escape that cloud, because the message now everyone knows — it's a fix, okay. It's a witch hunt, and they know that, and I've been able to message it. I would give myself an A+. Nobody has done —

DOOCY: Right.

TRUMP: — what I've been able to do, and I did it despite the fact that I have a phony cloud over my head that doesn’t exist. It was what the Democrats used to try and make an excuse for their loss of an election — for their loss of the Electoral College that they should never lose because the Electoral College is set up perfectly for the Democrats, and this was an absolute total beating in the Electoral College. They should never lose the Electoral College, and they did —


TRUMP: — and they got thwamped (ph).

KILMEADE: But does it make you want to talk to Mueller and put an end to it? Does it make you want to talk to him, because that's what Rudy Giuliani —

TRUMP: Well, if I can. The problem is that it's such a — it's such — if you take a look, they're so conflicted. The people that are doing the investigation — you have 13 people that are Democrats. You have Hillary Clinton people. You have people that worked on Hillary Clinton's foundation. They're all — I don’t mean Democrats, I mean, like, the real deal. And then you look at the phony Lisa Page and Strzok and the memos back and forth, and the FBI. And by the way, you take a poll at the FBI. I love the FBI, the FBI loves me. But the top people in the FBI, headed by Comey, were crooked. You look at McCabe where he takes $700,000 from somebody supporting Hillary Clinton. He takes $700,000 for his wife's campaign. And by the way, didn’t even spend that money. They kept some of it, because under that law you're — he took seven. He took $700,000 from a group headed by Terry McAuliffe, who was under investigation by McCabe and the FBI, and that investigation disappeared. He took $700,000. And you look at the corruption at the top of the FBI. It's a disgrace. And our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from, but at some point, I won't.


TRUMP: Our Justice Department should be looking at that kind of stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia. There is no collusion with me —

EARHARDT: All right.

KILMEADE: All right.

TRUMP: — and Russia, and everyone knows it.

KILMEADE: Everyone. We could talk to you all day, but it looks like —

TRUMP: Sure.

KILMEADE: — you have a million things to do.

TRUMP: Well, you could have —

KILMEADE: But I hope you can join us again, Mr. President.

EARHARDT: Thank you so much for much for being with us.

TRUMP: And, Ainsley, good luck with your book. It's going to be a winner.

EARHARDT: Thank you. Thank you so much.

DOOCY: And happy birthday to Melania.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

KILMEADE: We'll see you next Thursday, Mr. President.

TRUMP: Okay, thank you.

KILMEADE: The phone line's open.

TRUMP: Sounds okay.

DOOCY: Call in again sometime.

EARHARDT: Thank you.

TRUMP: Good. Thank you, 'bye.

KILMEADE: Very nice of you to call in.