Trump Mueller SPLIT 4
NYT: Trump says Mueller will treat him fairly
01:53 - Source: CNN
Washington CNN  — 

On Thursday at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump decided to sit down and chat. With a reporter. For The New York Times. For 30 minutes.

Lucky for us, the Times released excerpts of the conversation between Trump and Michael Schmidt. I went through the interview and took note of 47 – yes, 47 – of the most stand-out lines. They’re below.

1. “I thought it was a terrible thing he did. [Inaudible.] I thought it was certainly unnecessary. I thought it was a terrible thing.”

Is this Trump talking about some longtime political opponent, you ask? Nope. It’s actually Trump talking about his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and the decision by Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation! And that, by the way, was a terrible thing.

2. “Frankly, there is absolutely no collusion. That’s been proven by every Democrat is saying it.”

So. The fact that Democrats say the possibility of collusion exists is evidence that collusion doesn’t actually exist. If so, wow.

3. “Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion.”

Wait, wait. So it’s not that Democrats saying “collusion” means there wasn’t any collusion. It’s that Democrats NOT saying collusion means there wasn’t any collusion. This is exciting! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

4. “Great congressmen, in particular, some of the congressmen have been unbelievable in pointing out what a witch hunt the whole thing is.”

There have been an increasing number of GOP members of Congress – led by Ohio’s Jim Jordan – who have spoken out in recent days about the alleged partisanship of the special counsel investigation. (A person special counsel Robert Mueller dismissed from his team over the summer had sent some anti-Trump tweets during the 2016 campaign.) But Trump is oversimplifying here. Most members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – have been laudatory of Mueller and have insisted he needs to be given the time to finish his investigation.

5. “I think it’s been proven that there is no collusion.”

It has not. No one – not Mueller and not the congressional committees investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election – have said anything of the sort. In fairness, there has been no proof of collusion offered yet, either.

6. “I won because I was a better candidate by a lot. I won because I campaigned properly and she didn’t.”

Agree! Actually, I think Trump won because he better understood the political climate and the frustration and anger that people had toward politics as usual. And, to his credit, he did campaign in places – like Pennsylvania – where Republicans had a very thin track record of success.

7. “She campaigned for the popular vote. I campaigned for the Electoral College.”

There’s very little evidence – and by that, I mean no evidence – this is true. Hillary Clinton didn’t campaign in a handful of states – like Wisconsin – in the final weeks of the race not because she wasn’t trying to win the Electoral College but because she didn’t believe she was in danger of losing them.

8. “You know the Electoral College; it’s like a track star.”

This HAS to be the first time the Electoral College has been compared to Carl Lewis, right?

9. “It’s in golf. If you have a tournament and you have match play or stroke play, you prepare differently, believe it or not. It’s different.”

The Electoral College is a lot like track. And golf. And ultimate Frisbee.

10. “The genius of the Electoral College is that you go to places you might not go to.”

That brilliant track-running golfer, the Electoral College! It makes you go places that are not huge states on either coast! Places like Iowa!

11. “The genius is that the popular vote is a much different form of campaigning. Hillary never understood that.”

I feel like she did.

12. “I can only tell you that there is absolutely no collusion. Everybody knows it. And you know who knows it better than anybody? The Democrats. They walk around blinking at each other.”

I spent a lot of time with this line. Does Trump mean “winking” at each other? If he does mean “blinking,” then what does Democrats blinking tell us about their belief in collusion (or not)? Has blinking been the universal sign of disbelief all this time and no one told me?

13. “I hope that he’s going to be fair. I think that he’s going to be fair.”

Trump on Mueller is a classic in leaving-the-door-open-ism. Look, I hope Muelller will be fair. I think he will be fair. But if he’s not. …

14. “Maybe I’ll just say a little bit of a [inaudible].”


15. “Paul only worked for me for a few months.”

Paul Manafort was hired to Trump’s campaign on March 28, 2016, and became campaign chairman in May 2016. He was removed from that job on August 19, 2016. That’s 144 days, or almost five months.

16. “I saw Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion.”

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television.” – Donald Trump

17. “I actually think it’s turning to the Democrats because there was collusion on behalf of the Democrats. There was collusion with the Russians and the Democrats. A lot of collusion.”

Much collusion. Very Democrats.

I’m not totally sure what Trump is going for here but my guess is that he views the fact that Clinton’s campaign was secretly paying for the anti-Trump dossier put together by a former British spy as evidence of some sort of collusion with Russia? I think?

18. “There was tremendous collusion on behalf of the Russians and the Democrats. There was no collusion with respect to my campaign.”

So much collusion. The best collusion. Big, beautiful collusion.

19. “The only thing that bothers me about timing, I think it’s a very bad thing for the country. Because it makes the country look bad. It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position.”

The best way to understand this Trump quote on the Mueller investigation is to substitute “me” every time Trump says “country.”

20. “But there is tremendous collusion with the Russians and with the Democratic Party.”

Huh. I hadn’t heard Trump ever mention the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Democrats before.

21. “Whatever happened to the Pakistani guy, that had the two, you know, whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC?”

The “Pakistani guy” is Imran Awan, who was arrested on bank fraud charges in July as he tried to flee the country. Awan had worked for former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, among other Democrats on Capitol Hill.

22. “Whatever happened to the Hillary Clinton deleted 33,000 emails after she got [inaudible]?”

Clinton did delete more than 31,000 emails on her private email server after a review by longtime Clinton confidante Cheryl Mills and Clinton lawyer Heather Samuelson determined those emails were entirely personal. Clinton turned over more than 30,0000 emails from that server that she believed had some sort of tie to her professional life.

23. “I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.”

Trump is technically right here. If he wanted to fire Sessions or even Mueller, he could. But his use of “absolute right” will unsettle many people who have long held doubts that the President understands that there are real boundaries built into government to avoid the executive seizing total power.

24. “He’s a liberal Democrat. I watched Alan Dershowitz the other day. He said, ‘No. 1, there is no collusion. No. 2, collusion is not a crime, but even if it was a crime, there was no collusion.’”

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television.” – Donald Trump

25. “It’s very hard for a Republican to win the Electoral College. OK? You start off with New York, California and Illinois against you.”

The 2016 election ended 416 days ago. Trump won.

26. “They made the Russian story up as a hoax, as a ruse, as an excuse for losing an election that in theory Democrats should always win with the Electoral College.”

The special counsel was formed by Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general in the Trump Justice Department – an organization with which he has “absolute right to do what I want to do.” Mueller had been appointed head of the FBI by a Republican president. The heads of the two congressional committees investigating Russian involvement in the election are Republicans.

27. “It’s too bad Jeff recused himself. I like Jeff, but it’s too bad he recused himself.”

Man, Jeff, you blew it. And it’s too bad you blew it.

28. “I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him.”

I don’t want to pick my favorite Trump quote in this interview but I will tell you this is it.

29. “We hear bulls*** from the Democrats. Like Joe Manchin. Joe’s a nice guy.”

From “bulls***” to “nice guy” in eight words: The presidency of Donald Trump.

30. “‘Hey, let’s get together. Let’s do bipartisan.’”

We should all do bipartisan at some point in our lives.

31. “I’m the one that saved coal.”


32. “I called it.”

This quote is specifically about Trump’s decision to endorse incumbent Republican Luther Strange over Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate primary race. But it pretty much works for any situation tied to Trump. Ever. Forever.

33. “I never thought Roy was going to win the election, but I felt … I never thought he was going to win the election.”

“Go get ‘em, Roy.” – Donald Trump

34. “I would have done bipartisan. I would absolutely have done bipartisan.”

My #1 rule of life: You always do bipartisan.

35. “We’ve essentially gutted and ended Obamacare.”


36. “I have unbelievably great relationships with 97% of the Republican congressmen and senators. I love them and they love me.”

“I’ve got nothing but love for you.” – Heavy D (RIP)

37. “I know more about the big bills … [Inaudible] … than any president that’s ever been in office.”

This claim is sort of hard to check.

38. “I was a great student and all this stuff.”

“I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.” – Donald Trump

39. “I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest CPA.”

This got me to thinking: I would definitely watch a reality show called “The Greatest CPA” where accountants just tried to out-math and out-deduct each other.

40. “Obamacare is essentially … you know, you saw this … it’s basically dead over a period of time.”

Nope! (Again.)

41. “No, I’m not being centered.”

Yes, this is a real quote.

42. “I’m always moving. I’m moving in both directions.”

“Coffee is for closers, only.”

43. “He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China.”

In the history of China.

44. “One of the great two days of anybody’s life and memory having to do with China.”

Anybody’s life and memory.

45. “In fact, I hate to say, it was reported this morning, and it was reported on Fox.”

“Believe it or not, even when I’m in Washington or New York, I do not watch much television.” – Donald Trump

46. “Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”

The cynicism here is towering. And it reveals Trump’s basic belief that everything and everyone is solely motivated by profit.

47. “So they basically have to let me win.”

Well, that about does it for me. Happy (almost) New Year!

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the timeline of Paul Manafort’s roles in the Trump campaign.