President Trump today

By Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries and Meg Wagner, CNN
2:18 p.m. ET, June 15, 2018
11:30 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump could stop family separation policy with a phone call, senior Republican says

Sen. Lindsay Graham told CNN's Kate Bolduan that President Trump could stop the Department of Homeland Security from separating young, undocumented children from their parents when families are detained for illegally crossing the southern border.

"President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call," Graham said. "I'll go tell him: If you don't like families being separated, you can tell DHS, 'Stop doing it.'"

Earlier today, President Trump falsely blamed Democrats for the thousands of migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. His administration's zero-tolerance policy to refer anyone caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution has led to a notable uptick in the number of children taken from their parents since the change was announced in May.

However, Graham added that the separation policy discourages illegal immigration.

"I'm sure that people are going to be less likely to bring their kids to America if they get separated than if they lived together and get released into the country. I'm real sure about that," Graham said.

11:32 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Sen. Lindsey Graham wants to challenge the inspector general on his report findings

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN that he plans to challenge Inspector General Michael Horowitz at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday about his report findings on the handling of Hillary Clinton's emails.

Graham wants to ask Horowitz why he found no evidence of bias on the part of the FBI and Department of Justice in the Clinton email investigation.

"I think he'll be challenged about his conclusion," the South Carolina lawmaker said. "I think he's a good guy. And we'll see what happens. I'll tell you better after I hear him explain why he got to where he did."

10:30 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump: "I feel badly" for Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn

President Trump wants people to know that he feels bad for his former colleagues who are facing charges in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

"I feel badly about a lot of them because I think a lot of it is very unfair," the President said.

Trump mentioned former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who's in court today on new witness tampering and conspiracy charges.

"Manafort has nothing to do with our campaign," Trump said. "But I tell you, I feel a little badly about it. They went back 12 years to get things that he did 12 years ago. Paul Manafort worked for me for a very short period of time."

He also expressed distress for former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia's ambassador. 

"I feel badly for General Flynn. He's lost his house, he's lost his life. And some people say, 'he lied' and some people say, 'he didn't lie.' Really it turned out maybe he didn't lie," he told reporters.

Trump declined to say whether he would offer up a pardon for his former colleagues.

"I do want to see people treated fairly," he said. "That's what it's all about."

10:09 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump says Michael Cohen isn't his personal lawyer anymore

President Trump told reporters that Michael Cohen is no longer his personal lawyer.

"I haven't spoken to Michael in a long time," Trump said. "But I always liked Michael. And he's a good person."

Cohen has not been charged with a crime, but the FBI raid of his home, hotel room and office in early April revealed that prosecutors had zeroed in on his personal financial dealings, including the payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf before the election.

This week, Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's lawyers in the Russia investigation, said Cohen is not cutting a deal with federal prosecutors.

Watch more:

10:57 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump falsely blames Democrats for separation of immigrant children from parents at the border

President Trump, speaking moments ago to reporters on the White House lawn, falsely blamed Democrats for the thousands of migrant children who have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

"The children, the children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully and immediately," Trump said.

"The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children."

Trump said the "Democrats' law" forced that action at the border.

"The Democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness. We are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security," the President said.

10:07 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump rejects Republicans' compromise immigration bill, effectively dooming it

President Trump on Friday morning delivered a potentially fatal blow to a compromise immigration bill under development in the House.

Trump said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends" that he is not planning to sign the negotiated measure.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump said. "I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch-and-release."

The compromise is effectively doomed: Without Trump's support, and with a pledge to veto the legislation, it would be almost impossible to pass the legislation in the House, as members across the ideological spectrum are already hesitant to back the legislation on the political third-rail issue and many lawmakers have said they are only interested in a bill that can become law.

The draft bill is the product of weeks of negotiations behind closed doors between Republican moderates and conservatives, convened by leadership after dueling rebellions by both flanks.

10:00 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump: I was joking about wishing people would "sit up at attention" like North Koreans do for Kim Jong Un

From CNN's Veronica Stracqualursi

President Donald Trump said Friday he wants "my people" to sit up at attention as North Koreans do for dictator Kim Jong Un, later adding that he was joking.

"He's the head of the country," Trump said of Kim Friday during a live interview on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."

"And I mean he's the strong head. Don't let anyone think anything different."

"He speaks and his people sit up at attention," the President added. "I want my people to do the same."

Later Friday, Trump told reporters at the White House his remark was a joke. "I was kidding," he said. "You don't understand sarcasm."

9:57 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump says "it's possible" he'll meet with Putin

President Trump said "it's possible that we'll meet" when asked about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump again said Russia should be reinstated as a member of the G8. "I think it's better to have Russia in than to have Russia out," he said.

He then added that it was President Obama who lost Crimea — which is what triggered Russia being booted from the annual meeting of countries — because Putin didn't respect him.

"This was long before I got there," Trump said.

9:52 a.m. ET, June 15, 2018

Trump says Trump Jr. statement about Russia meeting is "irrelevant"

President Trump called Don Jr.'s misleading statement about his controversial 2016 meeting with Russians at Trump Tower "irrelevant," because it was given to the New York Times and not a "high tribunal of judge."

"You know what that is, it's irrelevant. It's a statement to the New York Times, the phony, failing, New York Times. That's not a statement to a high tribunal of judges. That's a statement to the phony New York Times. In fact, frankly, he shouldn't speak to the New York Times because they only write phony stories anyway."

About that statement: The New York Times initially reported in July 2017 that Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya along with Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law who has a senior role in the White House, and Paul Manafort, who was campaign chair at the time, in Trump Tower in June 2016.

Trump Jr. responded with a statement saying the meeting was "primarily" about adoption and its relation to US sanctions on Russia under the Magnitsky Act.

But shortly after that first report, it was shown the initial statement was misleading. The Times reported that Trump Jr. accepted the meeting in hopes that it would yield damaging information on Hillary Clinton, and Trump Jr. said it had not. After the Times obtained an email chain showing an acquaintance, Rob Goldstone, offered Trump Jr. a meeting where he could obtain information as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign, Trump Jr. posted the emails online.