When Fox News's Pete Hegseth asked President Trump on Thursday afternoon whether he planned to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump responded by not answering the question, instead riffing on America's relationships with other countries and how the press is bad. During a flight from Montana to North Dakota on Friday, though, reporters raised the same subject when the president briefly joined the press pool on Air Force One.
Below is a transcript of Trump's comments about Mueller and the investigation recorded by The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey. Key portions of his remarks are highlighted below, with additional information visible if you click.
Number one, there is no obstruction. Number two, everybody that looked at anybody over there, they get ‘em on some kind of a lie.
I see Papadopoulos today, I don’t know Papadopoulos, I don’t know. I saw him sitting in one picture at a table with me; that’s the only thing I know about him. They got him on, I guess, on a couple of lies.
Flynn, where the FBI said he didn’t lie, but Mueller’s people said he did lie, so I don’t want to be set up with a perjury trap.
Number two, there was no obstruction, there was no collusion. One of the things that was interesting about this ridiculous book. He hardly covered collusion at all.
There was no talking to Russia. There was no phone calls. I didn’t make phone calls to Russia. I didn’t receive phone calls. I didn’t have meetings. I didn’t have texts. Anything. I have nothing to do with Russia.
If we’re going to meet, it’s got to be a fair meeting.
Remember this: Article Two, number one you have Article Two provision, that covers everything. Despite Article Two, there was no obstruction, there was no collusion.
Everyone has given up at collusion. I didn’t meet with Russians because I love the United States.
If I met with Russians, you people would have found out. You know everything I’m doing. You don’t always report it correctly. But I’m used to it.
The interesting thing about the book — I figured it’d have chapters of nonsense — he couldn’t find anything about collusion in that big, fat ugly book with all the misquotes and all the lies.
I’d do it, but under certain circumstances. It’s a big waste of time. There was no collusion.
It’s such a sad thing for our country to be going through a witch hunt like that. It’s so hard for us to deal with other countries including Russia because of that witch hunt. It endangers our country. It puts us at a big disadvantage all because of the rigged, phony witch hunt.
You have 17 angry Democrats, now they’re making it smaller, I guess they’ve given up on no collusion stuff. You have people that are highly conflicted. Why don’t we have some Republicans on it? People that were at Hillary Clinton’s — I call it Hillary Clinton’s funeral, that was the night she lost the election. It was a funeral, it was a wake. People that are on Mueller’s team who are there crying, they were crying. What kind of a probe is that?
All of that being said, I must tell you, I’m not the target of an investigation. You do know that.
With that being said, we have to get it over with. It’s really bad for the country. It’s really unfair for our midterms. Really, really unfair for the midterms.
I watched Jim Dowd, a very good guy, a very good lawyer, he was devastated. He kept giving me dates. He thought this would be over. He thought this would have been over many months ago. He was devastated by it.