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Highlights of AP’s interview with President Donald Trump

Highlights of an Oval Office interview Tuesday with President Donald Trump by AP White House reporters.

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On the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi: “Well, I think we have to find out what happened first. You know, here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way. So I was unconcerned.”

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On Republican headwinds in the midterm elections: “It’s a tough year … The midterms are very tough for anybody the opposite of president, for whatever reason, nobody has been able to say.”

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On how he’d handle impeachment prospects: “I think I’ll handle it very well. I’m handling already. We have a witch hunt now going on, and I handle it very well, and there was no collusion. Everyone knows it. It’s … People laugh. People are laughing at the concept of it.”

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On how he’s done in office so far: “Who is the one, who’s the one president that percentage-wise has done better than me? There’s only one. George Washington — 100 percent.”

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On the urgent need to address climate change: “I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”

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On separating parents from children at the southern border: “I think we’ve done an incredible job with children. As I just said, we’ve taken children who have no parents with them standing on the border. We’ve taken many children, and I’m not talking about a small percentage, I’m talking about a very large percentage where they have no people, no parents. In addition to that, we’re separating children who are just met by people that are using them coming into the border, not their parents. They are using them coming into the border.”

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On visiting a combat zone: “It’s something I’d do. And do gladly. Nobody has been better at the military. Hey, I just got them a pay raise. I haven’t had a pay raise in 11 years. I just got them a substantial pay raise. ‘They’ meaning our military people. I just got them new equipment. They have stuff that was so old that the grandfathers used to fly it.”

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On the Russian hackers who the intelligence community says interfered with the 2016 presidential election: “Do you know these Russian hackers you’re talking about from Moscow? They have nothing to do with me. How many people are they? Only 28 people? They have nothing to do with me. They were hackers from Moscow. Some of them supported Hillary Clinton. They had nothing to do with me.”

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On running for a second term: “So if you do all of the things that you’re doing and you’re given another two years, which is a lot of time because I’ve done this in far less than two years, and those papers pretty much say it, they do ask that question. There’s always something to do. And you know, the new motto is Keep America Great. I don’t want somebody to destroy it because I can do a great job. But the wrong person coming in after me sitting right at this desk can destroy it very quickly, if they don’t do the right thing. So no, I’m definitely running.”

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On whom he might face in 2020: “Well, (Joe) Biden ran twice and actually a lot of people think he really ran a third time, but he was so low in the polls that he never registered. But he ran twice. And I call him One Percent Joe because you know he did very poorly and then (Barack) Obama took him off the trash heap and made him vice president. And in a sense he did a good job as vice president, in my opinion, because Obama liked him, and if President Obama didn’t like him, you would have been hearing about it.”

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On his relationship with Vice President Mike Pence: “Like, I like my vice president very, very much. That’s an important function.”

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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