CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: I want to go to the debate last night. Your 2008 comments about George W. Bush were brought up, and this idea that you were surprised at the time that then Speaker Pelosi had ruled out impeachment. Did you believe that, and I just want to clarify this, did you believe that there was enough there to bring up impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush in 2008 over Iraq?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I was in the private sector, so I didn't think about it too much. But certainly, the war in Iraq was a disaster. No, not to be impeached, but the war in Iraq was a disa-- it was a mistake. He just made a mistake. We went into Iraq, we lost thousands of lives, we lost trillions of dollars, $2 trillion.
CHUCK TODD: You don't believe it's an impeachable offense now? You were implying that it might be in 2008.
DONALD TRUMP: Well, that's for other people to say. And look, that is for other people to say. I can say this, it may not have been impeachable because it was a mistake. I think it was a mistake. But it was a horrible mistake. Number one, there were no weapons of mass destruction. So, you know, did they know there weren't or not? That would tell you something right there.
But there were no weapons of mass destruction. Chuck, the war in Iraq was a disaster. We end up with absolutely nothing. Iran is taking over Iraq as we sit here right now, and as sure as you can be, Iran is doing pretty well worldwide. They take $150 billion, we get nothing. They're taking over Iraq, they're getting the oil. It was a disastrous decision, the war in Iraq. And unfortunately, Bush happened to be president.
CHUCK TODD: You called though, you were saying that President Bush lied. How do you know he lied about W.M.D.?
DONALD TRUMP: I think that people knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction. I think they wanted to go in there. I think they thought it would've been easier. They didn't prosecute the war well. It wasn't well-prosecuted. And they ended up getting, I mean, leaving. Now, I have to say, he made a mistake getting in. And I'm the only one on the stage that said we should not go into Iraq. That the war in Iraq is a mistake. Everyone else said, "Oh, they're all--" you know, all of the other people on the stage, I should get points for vision.
CHUCK TODD: Well, let me, but actually let me pause you there.
DONALD TRUMP: Because everybody in there, even Jeb Bush, Chuck, it took Jeb--It took Jeb Bush five days, wait a minute, it took Jeb Bush five days to say that the Iraq War was a mistake. He went back and forth, back and forth. Then finally his pollster told him what he had to say. But Jeb Bush, and then he admitted that it was a mistake. Finally, after five days. In fact, it almost, I mean look, he's got no chance anyway. But it almost cost him the election before it even started.
CHUCK TODD: Well, I want to just, for what it's worth, PolitiFact has never been able to find, none of us have been able to find any instance where before the invasion, you came out against this war. Why is that?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I did it in 2003, I said it before that. Don't forget, I wasn't a politician. So people didn't write everything I said. I was a businessperson. I was, as they say, world-class businessperson. I built a great company, I employed thousands of people. So I'm not a politician. But if you look at 2003, there are articles. If you look the 2004, there are articles.
In fact, I saw somebody commenting on it last night, that Trump really was against the war. I was against it. Look, I'm the most militaristic person. I'm going to build the military bigger, better, stronger, hopefully we'll never have to use it, but nobody's going to mess with us. But I will say this, the war in Iraq, it was a mistake. Anybody would have realized Iran and Iraq, they used to fight. They go back, forth. Chuck, you destabilize the Middle East. I'm the only one that called it. I was the only one that called it.
CHUCK TODD: Do you-- you made it clear that you wanted to remind people that 9/11 happened, I believe you used the phrase, during "George Bush's reign." Do you believe that George Bush kept America safe?
DONALD TRUMP: No. Because the World Trade Center was knocked down. Look, that's another myth. I wish he did. I have nothing against him. I don't know him, I don't think I ever met him. I don't think I did meet him. I have nothing against George Bush. I'm just saying, when Jeb Bush gets upset, "My brother kept America safe."
What's kept-- How did he keep us safe, when the World Trade Center, during his time in office, came down? I was there. I lost many, many friends in that tragedy. That was the worst tragedy in the history of this country, worse than Pearl Harbor, because they attacked civilians. They attacked people in office buildings.
CHUCK TODD: And you think George W. Bush could have prevented this?
DONALD TRUMP: They had people walking on the streets.
CHUCK TODD: You believe he could have prevented this?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, according to-- according to, if you go back, you will see the C.I.A. and other agencies had information that bad things were going to happen and yes, the answer is he should have known. They were not talking to each other, there was total disassociation, they didn't like each other, all of the different agencies were a mess. They were fighting with each other. Absolutely, they should have known, they should have known something.
Osama bin Laden, hey look, I wrote about Osama bin Laden in 2000 in a book. I was talking about Osama bin Laden. If I know about Osama bin Laden just by seeing press and seeing, you know, what's going on, why wouldn't the president of the United States know about Osama bin Laden?
CHUCK TODD: Well, let me ask you this. In South Carolina, as you know, George W. Bush is popular among Republicans. You are, this is a risky strategy. You called him a liar last night about W.M.D. and you essentially said you would have been okay had--
DONALD TRUMP: I didn't call him a liar. I say-- I said, I didn't call anybody a liar.
CHUCK TODD: Well, you called Ted Cruz a liar--
DONALD TRUMP: Look, I said maybe, Chuck, I said maybe there were lies. Because look, the weapons of mass destruction, they said they existed, and they didn't exist. Now it was his group that said, "There are weapons of mass destruction. That's why we went in." That's why so many people got hoodwinked into going into Iraq. Then they go in there, they searched high and dry, they looked all over, there were no weapons of mass destruction. It turned out that there were absolutely not. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Now, was it a lie? I don't know.