Throughout two days, ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos invested 30 hours with President Donald Trump, flying on Flying force One to Iowa, traveling in his armored vehicle called “The Beast,” greeting him in his West Wing home, embedding in the Oval Workplace for a day of meetings, and taking a seat for an one-on-one interview in the White House Rose Garden.
Thinking AboutDonald Trump?
Include Donald Trump as an interest to keep up to date on the current Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Throughout an interview Wednesday early morning in the Oval Workplace, President Trump opined on the Russia examination, informing Stephanopoulos he would consider accepting destructive information about his political rivals from foreign countries.
Below is a complete, unedited transcript of that portion of the president’s unique interview with ABC News.
Tune in next week for an hour-long ABC News special, only on ABC– including “ABC News Live,” the 24/ 7 streaming news channel offered on abcnews.com, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Fire TELEVISION and Apple TELEVISION.
ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos:You’re a fighter. You, you, it feels like you’re in a consistent type of churn.
President Donald Trump: Yeah, uh, my life has actually constantly been a fight. And I enjoy that I guess, I do not understand if I enjoy it or not, I think– in some cases I have incorrect fights, like the Russian witch hunt. That’s a false battle. That’s a made-up scam. And I had a battle that–
Stephanopoulos:— the first line of his report says they had an organized attempt at interfere in our elections.
President Trump:They did, however not me. And they likewise stated, fine, that we rebuffed them. Okay?
Stephanopoulos:Well they stated you’re–
President Trump:— that the Trump campaign. Excuse me. The campaign, the Trump project rebuffed them. We had absolutely nothing to do with Russia. Hillary Clinton had a lot more to do with Russia than anything pertaining to our campaign. It said extremely particularly that, not just we didn’t need to do, however we rebuffed them. Now, anything having to do with Russia had nothing to do with our project.
Stephanopoulos:Well, Paul Manafort.
President Trump:Paul Manafort, they have Paul Manafort on taxes and lots of other things. Absolutely nothing to do with our campaign.
Stephanopoulos:Giving polling information to the Russians.
President Trump:I don’t understand anything about that. What distinction does ballot details make? It does not matter. He was maybe attempting to do something for an account or something. Who knows? But they stated specifically that there was absolutely nothing to do, and we, in fact, rebuffed them–
Stephanopoulos:— they stated there were hundreds–
President Trump:It’s a phony–
Stephanopoulos:— what they said is that–
President Trump:They also said that there were blog writers in Moscow and they said specifically, about the bloggers in Moscow, had absolutely nothing to do with Trump, had absolutely nothing to do with the– and there resembled 32 or 36 blog writers. We have absolutely nothing to do with bloggers in Moscow. I’ll inform you, you discuss collusion, take a look at the collusion with the Democrat celebration and Facebook and Google and Twitter. That’s called collusion, that’s called genuine collusion. Not where someone buys some advertisements and the other thing, relating to Russia, they were likewise assisting the Clinton campaign, you know that? It wasn’t simply Trump. And Putin, I will state this: if he had it, it was up to him. He would much rather have Hillary Clinton be president right now. And all of these nations would rather have Biden or anyone else however Trump.
Stephanopoulos:He said he was attempting to assist elect you. He stated that explicitly.
President Trump:Well he might’ve said that after I won due to the fact that it’s a clever thing to state, fine? Since frankly–
Stephanopoulos:And Mueller states that he’s trying to do that.
President Trump:Mueller stated that we rebuffed Russia, that we pushed them away, that we weren’t interested. Read the report.
Stephanopoulos:I have checked out the report. On that though, your son Don Jr. is up prior to the Senate Intelligence Committee today, and once again, he was not charged with anything. In retrospect though, do you believe–
President Trump:— I mean not just wasn’t he charged, if you read it, with all of the awful phony news, I indicate, I was checking out that my kid was going to go to prison. This is a good boy. That he was going to go to jail and all of these awful stories. And then the report comes out and they didn’t even say– they barely even discussed him.
Stephanopoulos:But should he have gone to the FBI when he got that email?
President Trump:Okay, let’s put yourself in a position: you’re a congressman, somebody shows up and states, “Hey I know on your challenger.” Do you call the FBI?
Stephanopoulos:If it’s originating from Russia you do.
President Trump:You do not– I’ll tell you what. I’ve seen a lot of things over my life. I do not think in my entire life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my entire life. I do not– you do not call the FBI. You throw someone out of your office, you do whatever you do–
Stephanopoulos:Al Gore got a taken briefing book. He called the FBI.
President Trump:Well, that’s different. A taken instruction book. This isn’t– this is someone who said, “We know on your opponent.” Oh, let me call the FBI. Give me a break, life doesn’t work that method.
Stephanopoulos:The FBI Director says that’s what must happen.
President Trump:The FBI Director is incorrect. Because, frankly, it does not happen like that in life. Now, maybe it will begin taking place. Possibly today you think differently. However two or three years earlier, if somebody enters your office with oppo research study– they call it oppo research– with details that may be excellent or bad or something, however great for you, bad for your challenger, you don’t call the FBI. I would ensure you that 90 percent, could be 100 percent, of the congressmen or the senators over there, have had meetings– if they didn’t they probably would not be elected– on unfavorable details about their challenger. They don’t–
Stephanopoulos:From foreign countries?
President Trump:Possibly. Potentially. However they do not call the FBI. You do not call the FBI whenever you hear something that perhaps– now, you see the individuals. The meeting, it also sounds to me– I don’t understand anything about that conference– but it sounds to me like it was a big absolutely nothing. That meeting was a big absolutely nothing. But I became aware of my child, who is a terrific boy, going to prison over a conference where somebody said, “I know on Hillary Clinton.” She’s the one that ought to be in prison. She erased 33–
Stephanopoulos:She should remain in jail?
President Trump:She erased 33,000 emails from– sent out by the United States Congress. They gave a subpoena to Hillary Clinton for 33,000 e-mails. After the subpoena was gotten, she deleted them. That’s called obstruction. And her lawyer must also be looked at because her lawyer– she’s got to have the best attorney on earth due to the fact that she does that, he did the deleting, apparently. Not only did they erase, but they acid cleaned them.
Stephanopoulos:That’s been investigated.
President Trump:Now, that’s called the– no, no. No, no. It’s being investigated I presume now.
Stephanopoulos:It’s been investigated.
President Trump:I do not understand, I remain uninvolved. I stay totally uninvolved and I do not talk with–
Stephanopoulos:You haven’t asked the Justice Department to have a look into Hillary Clinton?
President Trump:We have an excellent attorney general now. I don’t speak with my lawyer general about that, however I’ll inform you what: when you send 33,000 emails– they asked for 33,000 emails. She got the demand. They erased every one of them. Okay? If you did that, you would’ve been put in prison.
Stephanopoulos:Your project this time around, if immigrants, if Russia, if China, if another person offers you information on challengers, should they accept it or should they call the FBI?
President Trump:I think perhaps you do both. I think you might wish to listen, there’s nothing incorrect with listening. If somebody called from a nation, Norway, “we have details on your challenger.” Oh, I think I ‘d want to hear it.
Stephanopoulos:You want that sort of interference in our elections?
President Trump:It’s not an interference, they have details. I think I ‘d take it. If I believed there was something wrong, I ‘d go maybe to the FBI. If I believed there was something wrong. However when someone develops oppo research, right, they develop oppo research study. Oh, let’s call the FBI. The FBI doesn’t have sufficient representatives to look after it, but you go and talk truthfully to congressmen, they all do it, they constantly have. And that’s the way it is. It’s called oppo research study.
Stephanopoulos:Mr. President. Thank you.
President Trump:Thank you. Okay. Fine.