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South Lawn

9:59 A.M. EDT

Q    Mr. President, how’s Rudy doing?

Q    When did you find out?

THE PRESIDENT:  I tell you what — Rudy is a great guy, but he just started a day ago.  But he really has his heart into it.  He’s working hard.  He’s learning the subject matter.  And he’s going to be issuing a statement too.  But he is a great guy.  He knows it’s a witch hunt.  That’s what he knows.  He’s seen a lot of them.  And he said he’s never seen anything so horrible.

As an example, 33,000 emails requested by Congress with a subpoena, and they get burned, they get deleted.  And nobody says anything.  Give me a break.

So Rudy knows it’s a witch hunt.  He started yesterday.  He’ll get his facts straight.  He’s a great guy.  But what he does is he feels it’s a very bad thing for our country, and he happens to be right.

Q    When did you find out what the retainer was being spent on?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, you’re going to find out, because we’re going to give a full list.  And people know.  And virtually everything said has been said incorrectly, and it’s been said wrong, or it’s been covered wrong by the press — just like NBC and ABC yesterday covered the story wrong.

But you’ll be finding out.  It’s very — it’s actually —

Q    Mr. President, are you —

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait a minute.  It’s actually very simple.  It’s actually very simple.  But there has been a lot of misinformation, really.  People wanting to say — and I say, you know what, learn before you speak.  It’s a lot easier.

Q    Mr. President, when are these Americans going to be released from North Korea?

THE PRESIDENT:  We’re having very substantive talks with North Korea.  And a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages.  And I think you’re going to see very good things.  As I said yesterday, stayed tuned.  I think you’re going to be seeing very, very good things.

And also, the trip is being scheduled.  We now have a date and we have a location.  We’ll be announcing it soon.

Q    Mr. President, have you changed your mind at all about being willing to sit with Robert Mueller?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, the problem with sitting is this:  You have a group of investigators, and they say that I am not a target.  And I’m not a target.  But you have a group of investigators that are all Democrats.  In some cases, they went to the Hillary Clinton celebration that turned out to be a funeral.  So you have all these investigators; they’re Democrats.  In all fairness, Bob Mueller worked for Obama for eight years.

If you look at the statements that were made, if you take a look, as an example, at the Rod Rosenstein letter to me, prior to the firing of James Comey, just read it; put it in the air.  Your viewers don’t know about it.  Put that letter on the air.  It very much speaks very loudly, and that’s just one thing.

So I would say this:  If I could be — I would love to speak.  I would love to.  Nobody wants to speak more than me — in fact, against my lawyers, because most lawyers, they never speak on anything.  I would love to speak, because we’ve done nothing wrong.  There was no collusion with the Russians.  There was nothing.  There was no obstruction.

You know, very funny — if you fight back, because you people say something wrong, or they say something wrong, or they leak, which they’ve been doing; if you fight back, they say, oh, that’s obstruction of justice.  If somebody says something wrong, and you fight back, they say that’s obstruction of justice.  It’s nonsense.

So let me just —

Q    Are you —

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  Let me just tell you.  So I would love to speak.  I would love to go.  Nothing I want to do more, because we did nothing wrong.  We ran a great campaign.  We won easily.  We won that easily: 306 to — I think, it was 223.  We won it easily.  That was a great victory.  That was a great day for this country.

We just had new jobs numbers out.  You saw we broke 4 — 3.9 percent.  I would love to go.  I would love to speak.  But I have to find that we’re going to be fairly.

Q    Are you sure —

THE PRESIDENT:  Wait, wait.  I have to find that we’re going to be treated fairly, because everybody sees it now, and it is a pure witch hunt.  Right now, it’s a pure witch hunt.  Why don’t we have Republicans looking also?  Why aren’t we having Republican people doing what all these Democrats are doing?  It is a very unfair thing.  If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyer.

Q    (Inaudible) the jobs report today?

THE PRESIDENT:  I thought the jobs report was very good.  The big thing to me was cracking four.  That hasn’t been done in a long time; you’ll tell me how long.  But it hasn’t been done in a long time.  We’ll full employment.  We’re doing great.  The stock market is doing — I guess it’s up 35 percent since the election.

And now I think, really, they’re waiting to see what’s going to happen on trade, because we’re going to have some incredible trade deals announced.  My people are coming back right now from China, and we will be doing something, one way or the other, with respect to what’s happening in China.

And let me say this:  I have great respect for President Xi.  That’s why we’re being so nice.  And we have a great relationship.  But we have to bring fairness into trade between the U.S. and China.  And we’ll do it.


10:05 A.M. EDT