President Trump joins FNC's Jeanine Pirro to discuss the border crisis:
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: And joining me now by phone, the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
Good evening, Mr. President.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): Hi, Jeanine.
PIRRO: Thank you so much for joining us tonight.
Is there an emergency at the southern border? Should we not now use the emergency funds and the powers that you have in your possession?
TRUMP: So, we have a humanitarian crisis, to put it mildly. People are trying to get in by the tens of thousands. They're rushing the border, there's right now in Honduras -- a country we pay a lot of money to, I think foolishly because they don't help us. But right now, you have another caravan forming, and it's going to be the biggest one yet.
We stopped the last one. You see what's going on in Tijuana. They couldn't get through because we have a wall there.
We got a wall up. The military's been fantastic, Border Patrol has been incredible and ICE is, you know, these are brave people that do a great job. And we stopped them.
But there's another big one forming. We need a wall, very simple. Whether you call it a steel barrier, wall, it doesn't matter, but we need a very strong structure.
PIRRO: But by waiting to build the wall using those funds that are available to you in a national emergency, aren't you negating the point of the emergency itself?
TRUMP: Well, I have the absolute right to call a national emergency. Other presidents have called many national emergencies for things of lesser importance, frankly, than this. And I have the right to do it.
I'd rather see the Democrats come back from their vacation and act. They're not acting, and they're the ones that are holding it up. It would take me 15 minutes to get a deal done, and everybody could go back to work. But I'd like to see them act responsibly, and they're not acting responsibly, and that's it.
We could be -- I’m in the White House, and most of them are in different locations. They're watching a certain musical in a very nice location and --
PIRRO: Of course, in Puerto Rico watching "Hamilton".
TRUMP: -- frankly, it’s ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous.
We have a very important thing to do. We have to have border security, and we have to get people getting paid again very quickly.
PIRRO: But what about, as this happens, hook, you were in the White House -- look, you were in the White House during the Christmas holidays and over New Year's, and you've been there ever since. Nancy Pelosi's in Hawaii over the holidays, now she's in Puerto Rico with a bunch of Democrats and lobbyists, you know, enjoying the sun and partying down there.
But what makes you think that these people are willing to cut a deal? If you have shown your ability to negotiate by changing to a slat, agreeing to all of their demands as it relates to, you know, technology, electronic fencing and all of the other things, the humanitarian aid, they sit there, they don't even look you in the eye. What makes you think that they're going to in any way cave?
Because if these people said 13 and then, again, six years ago, we need a wall, we need a wall, but now, you're the president, they don't want a wall. What makes you think they're coming back?
TRUMP: Well, they might not. I mean, you know, frankly, I was willing to do something and we're asking for $5.6 billion, which is way less than what other presidents have been talking about.
You know, if you look back, this should have been done 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago. This should have been done by others. Just like if you look at Jerusalem, if you look at the embassy moving to Jerusalem, every president promised that, they never did it. I did it.
If you look at so many other things that I’ve done -- we're going well with a lot of -- you know, we're doing well with China. We’re doing well with North Korea. We’re doing -- you know, I was left a very tough hand.
But this was one of the problems, it’s our southern border. And it's, you know, thousands and thousands of people are coming in, and we have human smugglers, we have traffickers, we have people -- the biggest drug dealers in the world. And they're pouring through the parts of the border -- they don't go through your areas that are port of entry, Jeanine.
PIRRO: Ports of entry.
TRUMP: They go through areas where you don't have any protection whatsoever. And it's really very sad and very, very dangerous and very bad for our country. A lot of crime comes from that location.
PIRRO: You know, I interviewed Ron Vitiello, the acting director of ICE, and he said that there was enough fentanyl seized by them last year that could kill every American in this country. We know that 90 percent of the heroin comes through the southern border, and, you know, what we also know is that, or you know, there are 800,000 federal employees who didn't get a check yesterday.
You're sitting there waiting for a deal. The Democrats are not sitting with you. If this isn't an emergency, I don't know what is.
TRUMP: Well, I haven't actually left the White House in months. And in all fairness, I’m doing a lot of other work. It’s not just that, but that's a very important element of what I’m doing, because we have to get the southern border done. And I’ve been here virtually every night, I guess every night other than one day I flew to Iraq and then to Germany to see our troops.
TRUMP: And it was great. To see them, was great. The level of love they have for this country is incredible.
So I flew and then came back. I’m not even sure I actually missed a night, per se. But basically, I’ve been here for many months in the White House. And I -- you know, I’m a worker.
PIRRO: I know you --
TRUMP: I’m like you, I’m a worker.
PIRRO: You are a worker.
TRUMP: And, frankly, I’m ready, willing and able to get a deal done. But they don’t -- they think it's politics. I think it's bad politics.
This country wants to have protection at the border. Many of our crimes, much -- MS-13 comes through the border, drugs, a big proportion of the drugs from, you know, that we have from this country -- in this country come through the border. The human trafficking where they tie women up, they put duct tape over their mouth --
TRUMP: -- electrical tape, and they bring them and they traffic in women and children, and they come through the border, the areas that I’m talking about putting a wall. We do that, it can't happen anymore.
It's unbelievable. It's only politics. That's the game they're playing. I actually think it's bad politics for them.
PIRRO: So then, you know, when Nancy Pelosi won, you very warmly in November congratulated her, and are you still confident you can get a deal done with her, or has that ship sailed?
TRUMP: No idea. No idea. Well, we won also. You know, we won the Senate.
PIRRO: Right, right.
TRUMP: And, you know, there are those that would say that the Senate is more important. And, for the most part, I campaigned for the Senate.
TRUMP: And we got very little credit. Like even you -- you just said they won, we won the Senate. We actually picked up additional seats.
PIRRO: You did, yes.
TRUMP: We beat incumbents, Democrat, and almost everywhere I went, we won.
But, you know, I’m one person, and the House had many races, and yet we won some great races where I went. But we won the Senate, Jeanine, we picked up two additional seats. It’s 53-47.
TRUMP: It was 51-49.
PIRRO: All right. So for the last time, given that they don't want to seem to come to the table, that you have done all the negotiating, why not declare? There’s --
TRUMP: Well, that might happen. But I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly.
TRUMP: They should act responsibly. We're talking about the border, and I have to say a lot of the people that aren't getting their checks are letting us know we don't care, you've got to solve the crisis at the border.
It's humanitarian crisis, and it's national security. It's very important.
PIRRO: OK. And it's interesting, that's what I heard yesterday from some of the border patrol agents.
Now, I want to move on to another subject. "The New York Times" reported that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation the day after you fired James Comey in May of '17. And the investigation was whether you were actively working for Russia or unwittingly.
So, I’m going to ask you, are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?
TRUMP: I think it's the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you'd see that they found absolutely nothing.
But the headline of that article, it's called "The failing New York Times" for a reason, they've gotten me wrong for three years. They've actually gotten me wrong for many years before that.
But you rook at what's going on, you know, I fired James Comey. I call him Lying James Comey because he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director. Look at what happened with the Hillary Clinton and the e-mails and the Hillary Clinton investigation, one of the biggest screw-ups that anybody's ever seen as an investigation.
And what happened after I fired him? Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, his lover, Lisa Page, they did it. And, you know, they're all gone. Most of those people, many, many people from the top ranks of the FBI, they've all been fired or they had to leave are. And they're all gone.
This is what they were talking about. And, obviously, nothing was found.
And I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other -- probably any other president period, but certainly the last three or four presidents, modern day presidents. Nobody's been as tough as I have from any standpoint, including the fact that we've done oil like we've never done it, we're setting records in country with oil and exporting oil and many other things. So, which is, obviously, not great for them, because that's what they -- that's where they get their money for the most part. But many other things.
So I think it was a great insult. And "The New York Times" is a disaster as a paper. It's a very horrible thing they said, and they've gone so far that people that weren't necessarily believers are now big believers, because they said that was a step too far. They really are a disaster of a newspaper.
PIRRO: Well, you know, when you think about it, the people that were involved in that, all of the people have since been fired or gone, whether --
PIRRO: -- it's Strzok, page, McCabe. And also the Steele dossier.
But "The Washington Times" -- "The Washington Post," I should say, is following up reporting that you went to unusual lengths to keep your conversations with President Putin under wraps.
Why not release the conversation that you had with President Putin in Helsinki, along with some other stuff that might involve FISA, Bruce Ohr and the whole lot of them?
TRUMP: Well, Jeanine, I would, I don't with care. I mean, I had a conversation like every president does. You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries.
We had a great conversation. We were talking about Israel and securing Israel and lots of other things. And it was a great conversation.
I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn't care less.
I mean, it's so ridiculous. These people make it up. "Washington Post", that's basically the lobbyist for Amazon. You know, he uses that -- Bezos has got bigger problems than anybody right now. But Bezos uses that as his lobbyist, OK, as far as I’m concerned.
And "The Washington Post" is almost as bad or probably as bad as "The New York Times". Think of it, I have a one-on-one meeting with Putin like I do with every other leader. I have many one-on-one -- nobody ever says anything about it. But with Putin they say, oh, what did they talk about?
We talked about very positive things because -- look, we are beating everybody. Our economy is the strongest in the world right now, Jeanine. Nobody even close. China's down 38 president. Russia's not doing well, its economy.
Most countries are not doing well. We're doing phenomenally. Even though we're paying interest rates because we're normalizing. You know, Obama had zero interest. Anybody can do that.
And our economy's now better than ever. We're almost at our high with the stock market again. So, it's really -- can you imagine where they say that I met with Putin, I met with every leader just about individually. I meet with Modi, I meet with -- in Japan, I meet with Abe. I meet with all of them, but nobody says anything.
But I meet with Putin, and they make a big deal. Anybody could have listened to that meeting, that meeting is up for grabs.
You know, the whole Russia thing, it's a hoax. It's a terrible hoax. You know it probably better than -- you, Gregg Jarrett, so -- Dan Bongino.
People that look at it, it’s a total hoax. Everybody knows it. And it's really a shame because it takes time, and it takes effort.
And everybody knows there was no collusion whatsoever. They have found no collusion, and they won't find collusion because I had nothing to do -- I was a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. She was a terrible candidate.
And the fact is, I was obviously a good candidate. I won every debate. I won everything I did, and I won, and I won easily -- 306-223, I believe. And that's a big difference in the college, in the Electoral College.
TRUMP: So that's -- but it's really, it's really a shame, Jeanine. It really is a shame. Such a waste of time.
PIRRO: It is a shame. It is a waste of time, it's a waste of energy, and, you know, some people have to say to themselves, how can you deal with all of this?
This "New York Times" article, to be absolutely truthful with you, just seems to be another rehash of the same players and the same arguments, and the same dossier, you know, just to keep it going, and they'll keep it going as long as they can.
What keeps you going? I mean, you've got such fight in you, it is unbelievable.
TRUMP: Well, I guess I have good genes --
TRUMP: -- because, you know, somebody said the other day no president should have to go --
PIRRO: That's right.
TRUMP: -- through what you're going through, Mr. President. Because I’m going through all of this nonsense, it's all nonsense, but I have to be careful because these are dirty players. They're no good.
And you've got the Mueller investigation, you've got all this nonsense. There's no collusion, no nothing.
And, you know, they say this should never happen again. Never again should this happen. And that's the story.
But despite that, we've done more than any other administration by far in the first two years. We've had tremendous success.
PIRRO: All right. And now, of course, Little Adam Schiff, as you call him, is going to be dragging in, and Jerry Nadler are going to be bringing in Michael Cohen, an already-proven liar, to Congress, convicted of it. You know, are you -- are you worried that --
TRUMP: No, look, I was a client of his. You know, and you're supposed to have lawyer/client privilege, but it doesn't matter because if I’m a very honest person, frankly. But he's on trouble on some loans and fraud and taxi cabs and stuff that I know nothing about.
PIRRO: And taxi medallions.
TRUMP: And in order to get his sentence reduced, he says, I have an idea, I’ll tell -- I’ll give you some information on the president.
Well, there is no information. But he should give information maybe on his father-in-law, because that's the one that people want to look at. Because where does that money -- that's the money in the family. And I guess he didn't want to talk about his father -- he's trying to get his sentence reduced.
So, it's pretty sad. You know, it's weak and it's very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn't care less.
PIRRO: What is his father-in-law's name?
TRUMP: I don't know, but you'll fine out, and you'll look into it because nobody knows what's going on over there.
Again, I was a client. I was a client. He has a law firm. They broke into his law firm sometime early in the morning, I guess, and they took -- this couldn't happen to anybody except you're dealing with McCabe, you're dealing with the remnants of Comey.
And wait until you see how it all ends up, you watch. McCabe, Lisa Page, Strzok, wait until you see how that all ends up, including some others that I could name, but I --
PIRRO: Will you release --
TRUMP: We’ll make -- we’ll make front page news if I do.
PIRRO: I can’t wait to read it.
Will you release the FISA? We're all waiting for the FISA. That will give us (ph) --
TRUMP: Well, at the right time, we will probably do that. If that's necessary, we'll do that. You know, that's very, very important stuff.
PIRRO: I know.
TRUMP: And, you know, as you know, a lot of bad things happened when a lot of elements of what we're talking about. And at the right time, we will probably do that. That's right.
PIRRO: All right. And my -- are your lawyers working to keep the Mueller report from being made public?
TRUMP: Well, I can't tell you because I don't devote too much time -- here's the bottom line, there was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no anything.
So, you know, no calls to Russia. No nothing. So, you know, it's all nonsense, Jeanine.
It’s all -- it's a hoax. It's called the Russian hoax or witch, you know, it's a witch hunt. And it's a shame.
And, you know, despite that what we're doing is amazing. But actually, what we're doing in this, too, because we're exposing people that are corrupt. People are being exposed by this that are totally corrupt. A lot of the people that don't get mentioned even in that article today, the phony article in "The New York Times", there's a lot of corruption, and we're exposing it. And I’m going to put that down someday as one of my greatest achievements.
PIRRO: Well, I look forward to hearing that that.
And I guess one last question, Mr. President, when are you going to get out of the White House? I mean, Washington after a while gets very depressing.
TRUMP: Well, I love it, and I love this building, and I do a lot of work in the building. And if you looked at what we're doing on the deal with China which nobody was able to take on, and we're taking it on great, we're doing an incredible deal for our country.
You look at Iran. When I ended the Iran nuclear deal, look what happened to Iran. It's a different country than it was when I came here two years ago.
TRUMP: And all of the trade deals we're making with Mexico -- and, by the way, Mexico is paying for the wall because the trade deal --
TRUMP: -- is billions and billions of dollars better than the old NAFTA deal. And I call that -- Mexico is absolutely paying for the wall.
So, I mean, we're doing a great job, and I like doing it. And then we get involved with the Russian hoax or, you know, whatever you call it.
PIRRO: Or distraction.
TRUMP: It’s -- you know, it's one of those things, but I love doing it, the whole thing. But this will turn out to be very important because people are going to be exposed that nobody ever thought possible.
PIRRO: Well, I look forward to that.
And I have to ask you another post, last question. You're hearing about all these people looking to run against you in 2020. Your thoughts?
TRUMP: I’m not worried. So far, I love the competition. I love what I see.
PIRRO: All right.
TRUMP: I love what I see. You know, a couple of them aren't running that I was hoping were going to run, they just announced yesterday that they weren't looking. I was sort of looking forward to that.
But you're going to have probably 30 people, close to 30 people, maybe more. I heard as many as 32. And I see nobody, in fact, I guess Bruce Springsteen, Moore, all these guys are saying we're not going to beat him again. We're not going to -- so they're all going around saying, and they’re not (ph) -- look, we're doing too well. If anybody beat me, we have the greatest unemployment and employment numbers that we've ever had as a country.
PIRRO: That's right. That’s right. Who --
TRUMP: African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, the overall number, historically the best numbers we've ever had. The economy is the best economy we've ever had. More people are working today, Jeanine, in our country than have ever worked in our country before. I don't know, how does somebody beat that?
We have great trade deals. I cut taxes down to the lowest number that they've been in many years, bigger than the Ronald Reagan tax cuts. We have ANWR.
TRUMP: We got rid of the individual mandate on this horrible Obamacare, which we'll end up taking care of. Watch what's going to happen there.
So, you know, we're doing a good job, and I think people see it.
PIRRO: Who is the one person that you would really like to run against?
TRUMP: Well, I don't want to pick anyone out. You know, a lot of people say Biden's doing OK, but he was always a 1-percenter. He was a 1 percent guy. He ran two or three times, he never got above 1 percent.
And then Obama came along and took him off the trash heap, and he became a vice president, and now he's probably leading. But he's basically a 1 percent guy. He's weak.
TRUMP: So we'll see what happens with him. But I think he's leading right now, from what I understand.
TRUMP: But I’ll be watching. Whoever it is, I think we're going to do just fine.
PIRRO: Mr. President, I really hope you get out of the White House, I really do. I think you deserve a vacation.
TRUMP: Well, I like the symbol -- I’ll be honest, I like the symbol of being here. You know, to be totally honest with you -- I mean, your audience know I’m a straight shooter.
I like the symbol of me being here and them being at some play in a nice location having a good time. I like that symbol because I am ready to sign. And they're not. And they're not.
PIRRO: All right.
TRUMP: So we'll see what happens. And if they don't do it, if they don't come to their senses, you know what I’ll do? I'll do a national emergency. We're all set. It's 100 percent.
TRUMP: And I’ll have to do that. But, honestly, we shouldn't have to.
But you know what, Jeanine? They're going to want something from me someday, very important, because I have to sign everything. Everything has to go through the White House.
Mitch McConnell and the Republicans have done an incredible job, and they have stuck together like glue. We have tremendous support.
TRUMP: But, you know, they're going to want something from us for one of their favorite little deals. And all of a sudden, they're going to find out it's going to be very, very tough for them.
We need security at the southern border for our country.
PIRRO: All right. Well, I’ll tell you, Mr. President, when you reference the viewers, the "Justice" viewers, they are behind you 100 percent.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Jeanine. That's nice.
PIRRO: Mr. President, thank you for being with us tonight. We -- we're very grateful.
TRUMP: Thank you, Jeanine. Thank you very much.