Trump on 2020: Media Needs Me to Win for 'Ratings'

President also speaks on Roy Moore, Democrats, and how he thinks Mueller will 'be fair': 'NYT'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2017 8:21 AM CST
Trump on Mueller: He's 'Going to Be Fair'
In this Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, President Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A New York Times reporter was granted an "impromptu" interview with President Trump Thursday at Trump's West Palm Beach golf club, and among the nuggets Michael Schmidt extracted was Trump's apparent faith in special counsel Robert Mueller. "I think he's going to be fair," Trump said regarding Mueller's Russia probe, adding there was "no collusion" between his associates and Russia (the Times notes he repeated that phrase 16 times). Also broached was Trump's endorsement of Roy Moore, how "soft" he's been on China, and his take on Paul Manafort, whom he called "a very nice man" he didn't work with for very long. Other topics covered included his frustration with Democrats in crafting legislation, as well as his defense of how much he knows about health care and taxes, noting about the latter: "I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest CPA."

One line especially raising eyebrows: When asked if he'll reopen the Hillary Clinton email server probe, Trump replied, "I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department," though he noted he's stayed out of it so far in the hopes he'll be "treated fairly." Trump also predicted he'll win re-election in 2020, since he says the media can't live without the ratings he provides. "They basically have to let me win," he said. "And eventually, probably six months before the election, they'll be loving me because they're saying, 'Please, please, don't lose Donald Trump.'" Some critics took Schmidt to task online for not pushing back against some of Trump's claims more in both the interview and the article, though his colleague at the Times, Maggie Haberman, was among those defending Schmidt's approach to just let the president speak. The rest here, as well as excerpts from the interview. (More President Trump stories.)

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