President Donald Trump said Friday that he would “love to speak” to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and would go against his attorneys’ advice not to if he thought the interview process would be fair.
“If I thought it was fair I would override my lawyers,” the president told reporters at the White House before leaving for a trip to Texas.
“I would love to speak because we’ve done nothing wrong,“ Trump said. “There was no collusion with the Russians. There was nothing. There was no obstruction. ... If you fight back they say, ‘Oh that’s obstruction of, obstruction of justice.’ ... It’s nonsense.”
Trump again called the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 elections a “witch hunt” and suggested that is why his attorneys have advised him against sitting down for an interview.
“The problem with sitting is this: You have a group of investigators. And they say that I’m not a target — and I am not a target,” he said. “But you have a group of investigators that are all Democrats. In some cases, they went to the Hillary Clinton celebration that turned out to be a funeral.”
“I would love to go. I would love to speak,” Trump added. “But I have to find that we’re going to be treated fairly.”
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North Korea meeting set
Trump also revealed that details for a face-to-face meeting between United States and North Korea officials have been set.
“The trip is being scheduled,” he said. “We now have a date and we have a location. We’ll be announcing it soon.”
Progress toward denuclearization has already been made, Trump said, and expressed optimism for what’s to come.
“We’re having very substantive talks with North Korea and a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see very good things.”
Trump further addressed the upcoming North Korea meeting in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrews between deboarding Marine One and boarding Air Force One for his trip to Dallas where he’ll be speaking at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum.
Removing U.S. troops from South Korea is “not really, not at this moment, certainly not” on the table as part of the denuclearization talks with North Korea, Trump said, denying a New York Times report.
“At some point in the future I would like to save the money,” he said.
Trump also defended his new personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for remarks he’s made in the past two days confirming Trump paid back his longtime attorney Michael Cohen for a $130,000 payment he transmitted to adult film star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) in return for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump.
Giuliani had sought to clarify the payment and reimbursement for it did not come from Trump campaign funds in order to prove that there were no campaign finance laws broken, as a watchdog group has charged.
But the former New York mayor has come under fire for saying of the alleged affair with Daniels, “Imagine if that came out on Oct. 15, 2016, in the middle of the last debate with Hillary Clinton.”
Several campaign finance experts have suggested through that comment, made on Fox and Friends, Giuliani tied the payment to the election, making the case for a campaign violation even stronger.
“Rudy is a great guy but he just started a day ago,” Trump said. “But he really has his heart into it. He’s working hard. He’s learning the subject matter. And he’s going to be issuing a statement too. But he is a great guy. He knows it’s a witch hunt. That’s what he knows. He’s seen a lot of them. And he’s said he’s never seen anything so horrible.”
Trump suggested Guiliani has said some things that are inaccurate.
“He started yesterday. Uh, he’ll get his facts straight,” he said. “He’s a great guy.”
Asked when he knew about the payment to Daniels, Trump said, “We’re going to give a full list and people know. And virtually everything said has been said incorrectly and it’s been said wrong or it’s been covered wrong by the press.”
“It’s actually very simple, but there has been a lot of misinformation really,” he added.