From President Donald Trump's media availability with Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) on Thursday:
JIM ACOSTA, CNN: Mr. President, let me ask you about General Flynn. Are you going to pardon him? This is what you tweeted back in December 2017. I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the vice president and the FBI.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yeah.
QUESTION: Do you still believe that he lied to the vice president and the FBI?
TRUMP: Yeah, well, I tell you--sure.
QUESTION: Should he be punished for that?
TRUMP: When I looked at what they did to him, they tormented him. Dirty cops tormented General Flynn. General Flynn is a fine man, 35 years or so in the military. You don't get to be where he is by being bad; that I can tell you. And then he--right at the beginning of the administration the dirty cops came in, and you see the notes, Jim. I mean, whether you're on our side, that side, whatever, I mean I assume let's all talk about fairness. What they did to General Flynn--and by the way, to Roger Stone and to others--was a disaster and a disgrace, and it should never be allowed to happen in this country again.
And what I really hope to--because CNN tormented him, in all fairness. I really hope to see--because they haven't been doing it, and I appreciate your question--I hope to see that CNN will--not even apologize, which they should, but just cover it fairly because he's in the process of being exonerated. If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration. These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI. And you know the names better than I do. And they were dishonest people. Now we have to see what's going to happen. But General Flynn was treated like nobody should--and I'm not talking about generals. I'm saying like nobody in this country should be treated. And they did it right at the beginning.
QUESTION: So were you wrong in firing him at that time (INAUDIBLE) fire him at the time (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: They did it right--Jim, they did it right--well, look at what they did to the guy. I mean, he couldn't have known too much what was happening. They came at him with 15 buses, and he's standing in the middle of a highway. What they did to this man, they tormented him. They destroyed him. But he's going to come back. Like I say, he's going to come back bigger and better. But what they did to him--and I hear there's a lot of other stuff coming out, if I believe everything I'm reading, because I like to stay out of it. I don't have to stay out of it at all, but I like to stay out of it. And Jim, what they did to him is terrible. And I hope that CNN is going to give him a fair shake and cover it because I think it's very important. Yeah, please.
QUESTION: Sir, just a follow up on was it a mistake to fire him? Would you bring him back on to the administration?
TRUMP: Well, what I wish I had was all the information where they were out to get him. They wanted him -- they were trying to force him to lie. You see the written statements where they were trying to force him into a position where we can get him in a lie, or can we get him this way or that way. This is terrible. This is like what happened--and I'm not going to name the countries because we deal with these countries, okay, but what would happen in other countries, not the USA. What they did to General Flynn and others, and others, is a disgrace.
And I hope--really, I hope your networks are going to cover it because you know I've seen where it's the biggest story in the world a year ago and a year and a half ago, Flynn, Flynn, Flynn. And then he's essentially exonerated. Now that's not official yet, but when you read the notes, how could you do anything else? And I hear there's--
TRUMP: I hear there's much--I hear, Jim, I hear there's much more coming out. I think it would be so good for CNN if you covered it honestly and if you report it honestly. That would be so good for the network. Okay, with that, thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you, Jim. (INAUDIBLE)