Trump described North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a “smart cookie,” and dismissed the suggestions that his efforts to pressure North Korea had failed in light of Pyongyang’s recent missile test.
Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping would not be happy should North Korea carry out a nuclear test.
“The relationship I have with China, it’s been already acclaimed as being something very special, something very different than we’ve ever had.” Trump said.
He denied the suggestion that by working with China on North Korea he was sending a message that the US would turn a blind eye to its human rights record and trade issues. “North Korea is maybe more important than trade. Trade is very important. But massive warfare with millions, potentially millions of people being killed? That, as we would say, trumps trade.”
When asked what he has learned since taking office, Trump said “how dishonest the media is.”
Trump told interviewer John Dickerson that he referred to Dickerson’s Face the Nation show as “Deface the Nation,” and accused it of being “not exactly correct.”
Trump accused Democrats of being “totally obstructionist” and called Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer a “bad leader.”
“All they do is obstruct. All they do is delay,” he said. “Even our Supreme Court justice, as you know, who I think is going to be outstanding, Justice Gorsuch. I think that it was disgraceful the way they handled that.”
Trump was referring to delays in voting to confirm Gorsuch, who was confirmed nine weeks after being nominated. President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, Merrick Garland, was delayed for a year following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. Republicans refused to even hold confirmation hearings for Garland, leaving the Supreme Court with one less judge for close to 14 months.
Trump said, “Obamacare is dead,” but dodged Dickerson’s requests for specifics on how his healthcare bill has been fixed.
“This bill has evolved,” he said. “And we didn’t have a failure on the bill. You know, it was reported like a failure.”
When pressed, Trump said pre-existing conditions would be covered and promised “such competition” with insurers to drive down premiums.
When asked about his intention to release his tax returns, Trump said he was still under audit, and that his tax return was “very big.”
“I think it’s a very unfair thing because I have been under audit almost, like, since I became famous, okay?” he added.
Trump described stories about ties between Russia and the Trump campaign as “phoney,” and that he doesn’t know if Russia meddled in the US elections.
“You have Podesta [Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair whose emails were hacked] who, by the way, I understand has a company with his brother in Russia. Hillary’s husband makes speeches in Russia. Hillary did a uranium deal with Russia. Nobody ever talks about that. But I don’t know because the F.B.I. was not allowed by Podesta to go in and check all of the records on their servers and everything else that you would normally have to check. That’s number one.”
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“Number two, knowing something about hacking, if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking. With that being said, I’ll go along with Russia. Could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.”