President Trump talks about Joe Biden's entrance into the Democratic presidential primary, Strzok-Page texts, the FISA abuse scandal, and the origins behind the Russia investigation in an interview Thursday night with FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity.
Transcript, via FOX News:
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: All right. Joining us now from the White House -- I assume the White House -- is the president of the United States.
Mr. President, thank you for taking the time. We really appreciate you joining us.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via telephone): Hi, Sean. Thank you.
HANNITY: All right. A lot of breaking news tonight, and you haven't really talked at length in an interview about a lot of issues.
Let me start with this issue of the Ukraine. I don't know if you were following the top of the show or John Solomon's new report or that both Catherine Herridge and Sara Carter are reporting tonight, we now have text messages from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, never before seen, discussing recruiting White House sources to spy on you.
Take it in any order you like.
TRUMP: Well, I think it's incredible when you hear it. These are great reporters, all three, and when you have them on your trail, that's a problem. These are people that should be getting Pulitzers, not the ones that got the Pulitzers that got everything wrong.
If you listen to them, they got everything wrong. Go back and read some of their early and mid articles. They didn't have a clue what was going on and they win Pulitzer Prizes. These are the ones that should be winning.
It sounds like big stuff. It sounds very interesting with Ukraine. I just spoke to the new president a little while ago, two days ago, and congratulated him on an incredible race. Incredible run. A big surprise victory. That’s 75 percent of the vote.
But that sounds like big, big stuff. I’m not surprised.
HANNITY: Mr. President, Ukraine is offering this evidence to the United States. Would you like the United States -- with all this talk about collusion, they are saying they included on behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. Does America need to see that information in spite of all of the attacks against you on collusion?
TRUMP: Well, I think we do. And, frankly, we have a great new attorney general who has done an unbelievable job in a very short period of time. And he is very smart and tough and I would certainly defer to him. I would imagine he would want to see this.
People have been saying this whole -- the concept of Ukraine, they have been talking about it actually for a long time. You know that, and I would certainly defer to the attorney general.
And we'll see what he says about it. He calls them straight. That's one thing I can tell you.
HANNITY: Mr. President, our own Catherine Herridge, investigative reporter Sara Carter -- big breaking news tonight: Senate Republican chairman submitted a letter Thursday to the Department of Justice, the attorney general.
We have new texts from November of 2016 from Strzok and Page showing the pair had discussed attempts to recruit sources from within your White House to spy on your administration and reveal that they have one particular contact within the White House. The vice president's chief of staff whose wife was working as an analyst for Strzok on the FBI investigation on Hillary's private server.
Have you heard this report tonight, sir?
TRUMP: I just heard it a little while ago. Frankly, it's very disconcerting.
If you look at what's been happening, they were the same two, the two lovers that decided to use the FBI server instead of their private so they didn't get caught. These two were beauties. There is no doubt about it. They were going hog wild to find something about the administration which obviously wasn't there.
We have nothing to do with Russia except that we have been tougher on Russia than any administration in 50 years -- a lot tougher than Obama.
But these were the two that talked about the insurance policy just in case Hillary loses. If she loses, we’ve got an insurance policy. Well, that was the insurance policy.
Now, she lost and now they are trying to infiltrate the administration to -- really, it's a coup. It's spying. It’s everything that you can imagine. It’s hard to believe in this country that we would have had that.
I don't know if you remember a long time ago, very early on, I used the word "wiretap" and I put it in quotes, meaning surveillance, spying, you can sort of say whatever if you want. But that was a long time ago, and I have never seen anything like it a blow up like you have never seen.
Now I understand why, because they thought two years ago when I said that just on a little bit of a hunch and a little bit of wisdom, maybe, they -- it blew up because they thought maybe I was wise to them or they were caught. And that's why. Because, if they weren't doing anything wrong, it would have just gone by, nobody would have cared about it. It was pretty insignificant.
I thought, when I said it, and that's pretty amazing. So you see now they are trying to infiltrate the White House. This is long after the election. It's a disgrace.
And, again, hopefully the attorney general will do what's right and I really believe he will.
HANNITY: Mr. President, the attorney general actually used the word "spying" on your campaign. We know of Stefan Halper and his contact that he made with Papadopoulos and Carter Page and Sam Clovis. We know about the FISA warrant as the Grassley-Graham memo said, the bulk of the information in the application was the Clinton bought and paid for Russian of all things dossier, ignored by the Mueller report which I will ask you about in a second here.
But those are two specific incidents of attempts to get into your campaign. Your reaction to all of that?
TRUMP: Well, I think they made many attempts. And then you see the lying and you see the leaking.
And you see Comey lied Congress. Nothing happened. You see him leaking. Nothing happens.
And this is leaking classified information. This is leaking really big stuff. I remember the young sailor. In fact, I helped him out with his family --
HANNITY: Kristian Saucier.
TRUMP: -- because I thought he was so unfairly treated as you know. I remember he had confidential information which is a much, much lower standard than classified. And they put him in jail for a long time. They took away his life.
And then you look at what Hillary Clinton did with 33,000 emails and hundreds of thousands of text messages or emails going through the Weiner server or computer. Hundreds of thousands of which many were classified. And nothing happens to her.
And, yet, they put a young sailor on for doing something innocent, showing his mother and his friend what the desk looked like, the desk in a 40-year-old submarine. I think Russia and China would have had that picture many years ago.
So it's really a double standard like you've never seen, very, very unfair. But hopefully that will change. I think that will be changing.
HANNITY: Mr. President, closed door testimony recently revealed Strzok and Page that they were laughing at the idea that Hillary investigation was a real investigation. And that it went directly into Loretta Lynch's office, which now raises a whole new set of other questions. And they were confident about that.
And it was Strzok that did the interview with Hillary, uncharacteristically, frankly unprecedented, allowed two other people in that interview while she was being interviewed in an investigation. Comey, of course, exonerated her but he even acknowledged top secret classified information on that server.
I did disagree with you at the time. You after the election were basically saying let bygones be bygones, let's not go down this road.
Do you regret saying that and do you think now if we are really to get to the bottom and the truth? It has to also include Hillary Clinton, the email server, which would be an underlying crime and obstruction, which everyone in the media seems to care about -- the intent behind the 33,000 subpoenaed emails deleted, Bleach Bit, hammers, SIM cards.
TRUMP: No, I don't regret saying it. When I won, they were all saying lock her up. Lock her up. I said, no, no. Let's get on with life.
That was different. It was like right after the election you want to get a new page and turn over a new leaf. And I said let's get on with it, let’s, you know, build up the economy -- which by the way is doing record business.
I’m so proud of the economy. We are doing numbers that nobody has ever believed. Probably the best economy we’ve ever had. Best unemployment numbers we’ve ever had. It's been incredible.
But I said, let's get on with our life. Let's forget about the past.
But now what happened is fairly shortly after that great evening, they started coming at us with the insurance policy. And everything they did was so dishonest. And then, we really started looking into a lot of things like her deleted emails and acid washed emails which is unheard of because of the expense of doing it, and how she got away with it, how her lawyer got away with it, how all of these things happened.
Don't forget, whether they interviewed her that was on July 4th weekend. It was very, very late into the July 4th weekend.
They asked her questions. They didn't have a stenographer. They didn't have anybody swear her in. They didn't have a tape recorder. They just walked in, asked her some questions. And that was fine.
In the meantime, look at what she’s done, how she’s destroyed the lives of people that were on our campaign, she has destroyed their lives and the DNC. And frankly when the FBI went into the DNC, the DNC told them to get the hell out of here. Think of that. They told that to the FBI and they wouldn't give him the server.
I want to find out what's on that server, the DNC server, because that's the big thing. Nobody has seen that server yet. The FBI didn't see it, and these are the top people at the FBI where you had absolute dirty cops. These were dirty cops.
Now, the FBI -- I know FBI guys, these are the best in the world. But the people leading it -- Comey and McCabe and Strzok and Page and all of these people, the lawyer who admitted frankly how crooked things were. I mean, when that testimony comes out, it's already come out partially, when that testimony comes out from the attorney for the FBI, you’ll see.
So, I really say, now we have to get down because this was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government. We had people coming out to vote from all over this country that are in love with what we are doing. It's called Make America Great Again. That's what we have done and we are doing.
And this was an overthrow and it's a disgraceful thing. And I don’t -- I think it's far bigger than Watergate. I think it's possibly the biggest scandal in political history in this country. Maybe beyond political.
So I think that a lot of things are being learned right now, just like you just mentioned just a few moments ago, again with Strzok and Page. These are sick people. These are sick, sick people.
HANNITY: You know --
TRUMP: So let's see what happens with McCabe and Comey and Brennan and Clapper. They weren't in the act. And let's see what happens and let's see how high it goes up. It's inconceivable when it goes to Clapper, Brennan, Comey, these people -- I would imagine that some other people may be a little bit higher up also knew about it and maybe a lot higher up.
HANNITY: You mentioned -- I mentioned now Strzok and Page independently in their conversations. Peter Strzok had said about the collusion there is no "there" there. Lisa Page closed door testimony actually said after the nine-month FBI investigation, they had no evidence of anything with you and your campaign and Russia. That's before the appointment of Mueller.
We also had the House Intel Committee report. That's two no collusion. Then the Senate bipartisan committee and now the Mueller report is you said, oh, any news? No obstructions. No collusion.
TRUMP: That's right.
HANNITY: What is your full reaction to the Mueller report?
TRUMP: Well, it was, as I call them, 13 angry Democrats. They were supplanted by five more, five more were added. And you got up to 18, 19, 20, they are all Democrats, many of them made major contributions to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
And they had one of them was one of the top people at the Clinton Foundation, Jeanne Rhee. Then you had Weissmann, you had some bad, bad, bad people. No friends of Trump. I had no friends.
It was like a one-sided witch-hunt as I called it. And, you know, Bob Mueller, I turned him down to run the FBI, the next day, he was appointed to be this -- special counsel as they call it. It’s a really much tougher word than that I won't use it. And it was a terrible thing.
He was conflicted for that reason. He also was conflicted because of the fact that Comey and him are best friends. So, if not best, very close to best. But I would say best friends. You look at pictures of the two of them in the past.
We had a nasty business transaction the two of us. I have a nasty transaction with him and then all of the sudden he is my prosecutor. Very, very unfair.
And with all of that and $35 million spent, think of that, over two years ruining lives of people, ruining their lives, people going out of business because they couldn't afford lawyers. That's just unbelievable what happened. How bad it was. I can't even tell you how bad it was. Nobody knows how people suffered.
Great people that came to Washington, they came to D.C. to set the world in a very positive way on fire. They wanted to clean things up and do a great job. But all of a sudden, they are testifying on nonsense. And it's really -- you know, with all of the things you've heard, nothing had to do with the campaign. Nothing had to do with Russia, collusion.
But the bottom line is, with a group of very serious Trump haters, and a group of I call them angry Democrats, somebody who was very conflicted at the top, no collusion and also no obstruction, because the statement was made and the attorney general, you know, understood it very well and he read it and he made a decision right on the spot. No obstruction.
So, you had no collusion, no obstruction, $35 million spent, and unlimited manpower, woman power, and there is nothing. Nothing.
And it was a very bad two years for this country. But what has happened we found everything going in the opposite direction, and I think, now, it’s turning, unbelievable. The tables have turned.
And you are seeing things come out like you just -- like you just noticed and it's -- I think it's goings to be very interesting.
It's very important for the country to now find out how that whole thing started. And in all fairness to Bob Mueller it started long before he was appointed. This was going on long before that. You understand.
The first lady and I came down on the escalator on June 16th. And this started very shortly after that. It was a disgrace. Disgrace.
HANNITY: Mr. President, we expect a lot more coming out in the days, weeks, and even months ahead. We know at least 53 more closed door -- the testimony closed door of many of these players that will be released. We know that the inspector general, he now will have his report. We expect some time in, perhaps, in May, likely in May, where he will -- he has been investigating the FISA abuse issue.
And then, of course, we have Huber on leaking and whatever his report ultimately ends up becoming. We know that -- you know, there is a lot of information.
And then the issue you have the last time I talked to you about a month ago, you said you would classify the FISA applications, you would declassify Gang of Eight material, 302 material.
If the Grassley-Graham-Nunes memos are correct and the bulk of the information in the FISA applications were even as the "New York Times" suggested this week, may have been misinformation from the Russians that Hillary bought and paid for, that was disseminated to the media and the American people before that election -- you know, what would that mean to you?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I was very impressed that "The New York Times" did that because that was the first good glimpse that maybe mainstream is going to pick up the greatest political scandal in the history of our country, again, bigger than Watergate, because it means so much.
This was a coup. This wasn't stealing information from an office in the Watergate apartments. This was an attempted coup. And it's inconceive -- like a third world country -- and inconceivable.
And I have to say I think information is coming out and it's come out fast, much faster than anybody would have thought. And there are a lot of people very nervous about things that are going on. And I will say that I.G., the Inspector General Horowitz, he -- other than his conclusion, where he said no bias but he meant that in a different way than you would think. He gave a great report last time.
And I really hope that he is going to give -- I don’t know him, he was appointed by Obama. That bothers me a little bit. But I think he’s -- everything I can see, he’s really an honorable guy.
And I think he knows how big this is I think he knows how big this is. And if he is as honorable as he is supposed to be, the I.G. report coming out in three or four weeks from what I hear is going to be and should be and almost has to be a blockbuster because he has access to information that most people don't. And that's what he did the last time he was able to find things that a lot of people, great students of this whole thing like Devin Nunes who’s -- who deserves a medal and Meadows and Jim Jordan all these guys, the way they -- Biggs.
And you know every one of them they worked so hard. They worked -- they just couldn't stand what was happening to the country. They knew what was going on.
The biggest problem with the Mueller report, he didn't mention any of this. He didn't mention Strzok and Page and McCabe and Comey and the lies and the leaks and overthrow and the whole thing with the Hillary Clinton got a win 100 million to 1, two lovers, two sick lovers, especially the one.
I mean, these were like children and they are FBI people, the top people in the FBI. I’m so embarrassed for the FBI when you look at it.
But this was -- he didn't mention the insurance policy. It's a very, very sad thing. It can be cleared up incredibly well.
But, you know, you know and so I do that without -- if you didn't go any further, there are tremendous problems. I’m trying to be very nice and I want to be very tempered, but there are tremendous problems on the other side. If you had no other information, other than what you have right now, tremendous problems on the other side.
But, why didn't they mention in the Mueller report all of the horrible things that we found out about the other side, including the fake dossier, the fake dossier which even "The New York Times" now says was fake, which, again, I respect that they came out and said it.
This is too big a deal for mainstream media to give up. But the nice part is, as far as Trump is concerned and Trump administration, there is no collusion and there is no obstruction. Now it's time to look at the other side.
HANNITY: Mr. President, if, in fact, "The New York Times" is right and the dossier was a disinformation campaign by Russia, that would mean as Bruce Ohr testified behind close the doors that he even told -- and by the way, I agree with you about the FBI, 99 percent are good people. And this is only a few at the top.
But, if, in fact, they used that dossier as the bulk of information and it's disinformation -- to use "The New York Times" words -- from Russia that Hillary Clinton, the opposition party candidate paid for, that they never fully informed the FISA judges of and the Grassley-Graham memo, Nunes memo were right, that means that everybody signed off on those four FISA applications that would be, the first one, Jim Comey. That would be Sally Yates, Boente, and Rod Rosenstein, that means they never verified what they told that court.
I would say that's a fraud on the FISA court. What do you say?
TRUMP: Well, from what I understand, they’d all be in a very big pile of trouble. That's the way I look at it and that's the way I hear. They would be in a very big amount of trouble. It would be a terrible thing if that's the case.
And, you know, they have been denying that. And they started blaming all sorts of people, Papadopoulos who nobody knew, and Carter Page, who I actually feel very sorry for. I never met them. But, you know, they made him -- they used him to try and get -- to try and spy on the campaign.
You know, they went in and these two guys were put on councils having to do with various things. What difference does it make? But they were put on to foreign relations councils and with a large number of other people. And as soon as people saw their name -- even though I didn't meet Carter Page and Papadopoulos I actually sat at a table with him for about 15 minutes and that was it. I never spoke to him or anything.
And they were -- you know, they have suffered a lot. Like I don't see that they were not foolish because, you know, the way it all happened was so crazy. But they were hit like very few people have ever been hit. That was really to get to me. That was to get to the campaign.
They started using them in order to spy on our campaign. It would look like, I mean, again, it will come out at some point so I don't want to be the one to say. But to me it seems to be pretty obvious when you look at what happened with Carter Page and it's -- they were spying.
The attorney general said it better than anybody the other day when he was asked yes, I think they were spying on the Trump campaign. You can't say it any better than that. And I think so, too.
HANNITY: Mr. President, I’m going to -- I have to ask you about the New Green Deal, Biden and the media. But one last, last question. Will you declassify the FISA applications, Gang of Eight material, those 302s, or, you know, what we call on this program the "bucket of five"?
HANNITY: Yes. Everything is going to be declassified and more, much more than what you just mentioned. It will all be declassified. I’m glad I waited because I thought that maybe they would object struck if I did it early and I think I was right.
So I’m glad I waited. And now, the attorney general can take a look, a very strong look at whatever it is. But it will be declassified and more than what you just mentioned.
HANNITY: Mr. President, we’re now in the election season and Joe Biden made his big announcement today. I thought it was a very warm welcome you made for him on Twitter which I read at the beginning of the show mere tonight.
Generally, your thoughts on him, his entry into the race. You have Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren, Robert Francis O'Rourke, your reaction to the, well, now a record number of slate of 20 people that would like to take you on in 2020?
TRUMP: Well, I don't know who it is going to be. Maybe Sanders or maybe Biden.
I think, you know, when you look at Joe -- I have known Joe over the years. He is not the brightest light bulb in the group, I don't think, but he has a name that they know.
He is coming on with some little cute statements about me that he talked about the way the world is today. Well, I will tell you the way the world is today is we have a strong military.
We have choice for our veterans. They have choice now instead of waiting in line all day long, all week long, all month long. They have choice. They can go out to a private doctor. We pay the bill and they don't have to die waiting in line.
We have the biggest tax cut in the history of our country. We have gotten rid of the individual mandate. We have had the biggest cut in regulations which is one of the things creating all these great jobs because we have the best unemployment numbers that we’ve ever had.
Today, we have the most people working literally today, just came out. We have the most people working than we have ever had in the history of our country. Almost 160 million people are working to have jobs. And it's incredible.
So, you know, that's really where we are today. We rebuilt the military. We have ordered jets, the likes of which no country has. We have fighter jets, the F- 35, the F-18. We have jets the likes which no country has at all.
We are ordering great, great ships, boats, and aircraft carriers and they are all being built in the United States. That's jobs. It's all being built right here.
Best equipment in the world. Best missiles in the world. We don't want to use them but if we have to, we are set.
Nobody has what we have. Nobody has our military. Nobody is even close.
When I came in, we had a depleted military. We had an economy that was going down.
You remember the numbers. They were terrible. And they were going down. We were going to be in negative numbers very soon.
And now, we have numbers that are incredible. The economy is setting records.
When foreign leaders come in to see me, Sean, they always say, thank you, it's great to meet you, sir, and congratulations on your economy. It's the greatest economy anywhere in the world -- which it is. Nobody is even close to us. That's because of the things we have been done.
So, when Biden makes the statement talking about the soul, I mean the soul, take a look at the Obama -- you know, I heard somebody say before that there was such dissension and division. People forget there was tremendous division during the Obama administration, tremendous division. We actually have a great spirit right now.
And, you know, just to finish that off. We are a country respected again. We are respected all over the world. They all respect us.
Even today I see where President Putin in Russia made the statement that it's great to be able to help us with Kim Jong-un and North Korea. We want to get rid of the nuclear weapons.
We all have to get -- Russia has to get rid of them and China has to get rid of them. By the way China, President Xi has been a big help. We are working on a great trade deal. But he’s been a great help at the border I’m talking about the border between North Korea and China.
And, you know, a lot of good things are happening. We are respected again throughout the world. And that's a great thing.
HANNITY: Well, in Biden's case in particular, he is going to run on his economic record versus yours, his position on Iran and Israel and North Korea versus yours.
But, generally speaking, we have not just Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, about 100 House, Senate members at least and many of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 have bought into the New Green Deal. Everything is free, no oil, no gas. Comrade de Blasio has added no steel building or glass buildings in New York in five years. But importantly, airplanes are gone, combustion engines gone.
How do you react if these are the policies you will be running against?
TRUMP: Well, it's interesting because I just heard about this crazy deal in New York City where they want to build concrete buildings that little tiny windows. You know, I built a lot of buildings, Sean, I can tell you, the bigger the window, the better I did with it. People want big windows and now they’re going to take them down to nothing. Now, the whole thing is crazy.
The New Green Deal, OK, and it's got to be some kind of a joke. It's got to be -- they have to be kidding but, you know, I saw the senator from Hawaii who was so nasty to Judge Kavanaugh -- and that's another thing, we'll soon have within a period you have about two months 145 brand new federal judges and two Supreme Court judges. But she was so nasty to now judge, Justice Kavanaugh, so horrible.
And they asked her about it, the New Green Deal. They said, how about that? And she goes, well, I’m in Hawaii and I understand they won't allow airplanes.
And she said, it's hard for me but I will approve it anyway. Even though there is no way. Somebody said they will build a train to Hawaii.
No, it's a crazy thing. I can't believe they are really serious. But I hope I get a chance to run against it. I hope they don't decimate it.
Sometimes I almost wish I didn't say as much as I have said to you about it, because I want that to go through and I want to run against it.
I don't think they are going to win anyway but sure as hell not going to win with that legislation. Never going to happen anyway from a practical standpoint, obviously.
But it is amazing to see the senators -- senators that I have known for a long time, distinguished Democrats, and they are fawning behind her. She is talking about the deal, but I don't know if they are kidding. I don't know if they are desperate for votes or I don't know if they are incompetent, but they are sitting behind her and they are acting like they actually agree with what she is saying about fuel and cows and all of the things. I mean, it's ridiculous situation.
So I just hope it keeps going. I hope nobody criticizes it too badly. I have already done too much tonight, because maybe I would have talked them out of it and that would have been a very bad thing.
HANNITY: OK. You don't want to do it.
We had an incident this book. I want to go to the issue of the border -- obviously, a defining issue for you.
HANNITY: And Congress was unable to override your emergency declaration. The Pentagon who identified, I believe the figure was $9 billion of unused monies and you were going to apply that to the wall.
HANNITY: Then we had the incident this week where we had some people cross our border and literally, you know, took one of our guys' guns. You put out a tweet better not happen again.
HANNITY: What's the latest with both the wall? What's the latest on that situation and what is -- I don't know if you heard about this contractor that said he can build a whole wall for a lot cheaper than anybody else and get it done by 2020.
Are you aware of that?
TRUMP: Yes, we are dealing with him, actually. It's Fisher comes from North Dakota, recommended strongly by a great new senator as you know, Kevin Cramer. And they are real.
But they have been bidding and so far they haven't been meeting the bids. I thought they would. But we’re up (ph) for a bid -- we are building many sections of wall right now that's under construction right now. And I intend to have by the end of next year over 400 miles of wall which renovated a lot of wall already. A lot of the wall was, you know, I’m good at this stuff. That's what I do. We renovated a lot.
We had wall that was falling down but structurally strong or can be strong. So we saved a lot of money. We renovated. We fixed it and it's much quicker and frankly much less expensive.
So, we have renovated a lot and we built a lot. We built a lot of new wall. In some cases, we have ripped all wall down because it was in too bad of shape and we built brand new wall. But we are building a lot of sections.
And actually, over the next two to three weeks, we are giving out at lot of different sections. They will be building it in different areas by different contractors, a similar design and a really good design.
HANNITY: And you have the --
TRUMP: Less money, much more beautiful and actually stronger.
HANNITY: Let me -- "The Washington Times," let me go to the issue of media and New York -- I’m sorry "The Washington Post," "New York Times" received Pulitzers for their, quote, coverage of the Russian probe.
You've seen the coverage over two-plus years. Russia, Russia, Russia. Trump, Trump, Trump. Collusion, collusion, collusion. The Mueller report couldn't be any more clear on the issue specifically.
Do you think the news media in this country and their coverage on this owes you an apology?
TRUMP: Well, they do owe me an apology, a big one. They owe you an apology and all of the people that you mentioned previously and some of the other people --
HANNITY: I’m not holding my breath.
TRUMP: We actually had a lot of support. I mean, I watch you and Tucker and I watch Laura and your great guys in the morning with Steve and Ainsley and Brian. Brian came a long way. I kid him but he came a long way, and so many other people.
Not only on FOX, in all fair news. But you look at -- Jesse has been so great. I mean, just so many people.
But we had, really, a lot of support, including as you would say "The Washington Times" and some others. But, generally speaking, it's corrupt reporting. Generally speaking it was fake news.
And a term that, you know, I’m very proud of somebody said which is the best of the names, I don’t know, maybe fake news. Who knows what it is?
Now, they use it. You know, they use it to describe something. They think they get out of it by use it.
They are tricky people. But they were fake, they were corrupt. If they could change, I would be the first one to say I respect the fact that you have changed. But if they don't change, they have lost all credibility.
If you read the stories that they wrote about the Russia witch-hunt and, by the way, guys like Dan Bongino and Gregg Jarrett and Justice Jeanine, how about Judge Jeanine whose mother just died today which is horrible.
HANNITY: I know. Our prayers are with her.
TRUMP: I just spoke to her. She is a great woman, loved her mother more than anybody other than her beautiful children. But, I mean, she loved her mother. She was a great daughter. You know, she has gone through a hard time.
But how about -- how about Jeanine? And I mean, it's been incredible.
We have far more support than people understand. If we didn't, I wouldn't even be talking to you right now. I mean, it would be a total mess.
We had enough to fight the deep state. We had enough to fight corrupt media, mainstream media. I mean, NBC, I think was worst, frankly.
I think NBC is more corrupt than CNN if that's possible. And I made them a lot of money with "The Apprentice". Can you believe it?
I was on that thing 12 years with "The Apprentice". They wanted to sign me three or four more years. They came up to my office. I said, I’m running for president. They've tried to talk me out of it.
I figured at least they would give me, for whatever reason, they would give me great, but they were --- I think they were more hostile frankly than CNN, which is hard to believe.
But this fake, horrible stuff, nobody can believe how dishonest they have been.
HANNITY: Mr. President I have known you personally for well over two decades. And by the way I don't think the fake news brand is going away, but on all the issues you ran on -- conservative, originalist, constitutional justices, tax cuts, deregulation, Israel, Iran, foreign policy, the wall. We're now energy independent for the first time in I think 70, 75 years. We are now a net exporter of energy.
HANNITY: The one thing Republicans, you've gotten part of it done. That was that the individual mandate.
HANNITY: And you want to take on healthcare and Mitch McConnell said not this year.
TRUMP: Well, he is going to be great. Mitch is doing a very good job. We really work -- he’s got a passion for the courts, and a passion for judges. We worked great on that. And we’ll be really good with healthcare. I mean, we want to have -- we are going to do things that nobody has ever seen on healthcare.
But we have to get back to the House. And in order to do it, we have to take back the House. If we don't take back the House, then we have a problem. You are never going to have good healthcare, because Obamacare is a disaster. It’s too expensive, not working.
And we had it done. It was done and then John McCain at the very last moment late in the evening went thumbs down and everybody said, what was that?
John McCain went thumbs down. He did the Republican Party a tremendous disservice and did the nation a tremendous disservice. Tremendous. And it's unfortunate but we had it done.
And had we known he was going to -- because he said he was voting for it all day long. Had we known he was going to vote against it, I think we could have convinced one of the other two people that voted against it. We could have convinced them. I feel confident to go for it.
But we didn’t even try because we knew we had John McCain and we had everybody, and we’re all set. And he went thumbs down at the very last moment. And I thought it was a disgraceful thing to do and very, very bad for our country and bad for healthcare.
But we're going to do something that will be great. We have to get the House back. It will be much better than Obamacare. And don't forget, they want to take 180 million private insurance plans away, people, 180 million people are going to be stripped of their great insurance that they have right now because we have made great insurance available to people.
Obamacare is actually, it's very important, but it's actually a smart part. We have a very big case in court. I think eventually the Democrats and Republicans would come together.
But we have a fantastic plan that we'll be rolling out and subject to us winning back the House, keeping the presidency, which I think we're going to do. And also obviously winning the Senate.
And as you know, in '18, we picked up seats in the Senate but nobody ever gives us credit for that we won the governorships of many states, including Ohio and Georgia and Florida and we had, you know, just great. We were at 53 to 47. Nobody talks about that.
We had actually a very successful -- we really did. We had a very successful ‘18 election and don't forget the Senate that approves the judges nominees. But it approves most importantly perhaps the judges.
HANNITY: Mr. President, in this whole investigative process, you never invoked executive privilege. You handed over every document. You told your staff to cooperate, that's fairly unprecedented. And, yes, everybody knows that you said it was a witch hunt. Pretty often, you said, you’re innocent, no collusion the whole time.
And you talked about, oh, why don't we fire, you know, Mueller or Rosenstein, whatever happened to be. But you had the authority in the Article 2, according to Alan Dershowitz and other lawyers, but that’s a separate issue. You never did those things.
And I guess my question, when you said this week, you will now fight all subpoenas and enough cooperating. Can you expand on what you meant there and what that means?
TRUMP: Well, very simply, because enough is enough. I could have fired everybody. But --
HANNITY: Under Article 2.
TRUMP: I wanted to you have transparency. Article 2. I could have fired everybody. I could have fired Mueller. I you could have fired anybody that I wanted to fire, Article 2.
I fired nobody other than Comey, and very interesting and that was early and people don't talk about that, but the very interesting thing about firing Comey is that everybody wanted him fired, all the Democrats. I mean, virtually everybody, the Democrats thought he was horrible. The Republicans thought he was horrible.
And I said, you know, this is going to be wonderful. I’m going to fire this guy. When he gets fired, I think it would be popular. It thought it was go going to be bipartisan firing.
And he got fired and the Democrats sat back and they though, and the same people that two days earlier saying how horrible he was, were saying, oh, this is a terrible thing.
It’s -- what's a terrible thing is they are not putting our country first. I have been the most transparent president in history. I said let anybody speak. The White House counsel can speak.
I heard, I mean this is incredible, but I heard they interviewed 500 people I didn't know we had that many people between the White House and other branches. I mean, who would think they interviewed 500 people if that is possible to be correct.
They spent, as I told you, $35 million. They had unlimited human resources. They had the FBI working for ‘em. They had U.S. attorneys. They had the Justice Department working for them. And they found no collusion.
But I was totally transparent. I didn't tell anybody you can't go. I could have. I could have sell you are not going to testify. Nobody is going to testify.
When I say it, they do what I say. I could have said that. But what happened, Sean, is I wanted to be totally transparent. So, then we get no collusion, no obstruction.
And then the House starts (ph). Now, we’re going to go and we’re going to go further. And I said, we’ve had it. That's enough.
HANNITY: Mr. President, only for the constraints of time, I would love to ask you in detail about all these candidates. How about one word description on some of the top candidates for 2020? Like, for example, if I say the word Joe Biden, one or two words?
TRUMP: Well, I think we are calling him Sleepy Joe, because I have known him for a while and he’s a pretty sleepy guy. He’s not going to be able to deal with President Xi. I will tell you. That's a different level of energy and, frankly, intelligence.
So, I thought to refer to him as Sleepy Joe, because -- a lot of people wanted me to take the word "sleepy" to something that rhymes with it. Does that make sense to you? And I thought it was too nasty.
HANNITY: Yes, I guess. Well, welcome to the race. I see you at starting gate.
TRUMP: But he is not going to be able to do the job.
HANNITY: What about Bernie Sanders?
TRUMP: Well, he’s got a lot of energy but he has got misguided energy and he’s done very poorly in terms of the Senate. He has had very little legislation. I think he talks a lot and doesn’t get it done.
HANNITY: Robert Francis O'Rourke?
TRUMP: Well, it's a fluke. Ted Cruz did a good job. I helped him a lot in Texas. We went down and had a couple of massive rallies. And the people of Texas are incredible. They figured it all out.
He is fading very fast. I think he is fading very, very fast. It looks like he’s going to be a thing of the past very soon. But he was a hot item for a little while.
I’ll show you how dishonest the press was. I went down to El Paso. We did a tremendous rally, I guess we had 35,000 people between inside and out, at least. And he had 502 people, and the press said, they both had big rallies. They both had big rallies.
I said, wait a minute, one has close to 40,000 people, one has 500 people, and they were very much comparing them. That's the way the media is. But then that’s why people don't like the media.
They got to straighten it up, because otherwise, it's not free press. But he is fading fast, there’s no question about it.
HANNITY: All right. We have about a minute left, less than a minute left. Mayor Pete, Kamala Harris?
TRUMP: Well, I don't see either of them. I think she has got a little bit of a nasty whit but that might be it. And Mayor Pete is not going to make it.
TRUMP: I would hope he would. I hope -- I’m rooting for him but he is not going to make it.
HANNITY: All right. Mr. President, you have been very yen generous, once again, with your time. I have think it's important, sometimes I know when you do other interviews that people want to play gotcha fight and they had their own agenda. But every once in a while, I think it's important for the American people to hear you in answer in your own words at length on some important issues.
We do appreciate you coming on and giving so much time to this audience in particular. Thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you, Sean.