Transcript: Fox News interview with President Trump

The following is a transcript of President Trump’s May 2 interview with Fox News.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE:  President Trump, thank you for being with us.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much Catherine.

HERRIDGE:  Did the attorney general make the right call, refusing to go to the House Judiciary Committee because he’d take questions from Committee staff lawyers?

TRUMP:  Well I think so, it’s not up to me, it’s up to him.  And they were going to treat him differently than they’ve treated other people.  And of course we’ve been treated differently to start off with.  We’ve gone through so many investigations, everybody.  And it’s so ridiculous.  No obstruction, no nothing -- there’s been no nothing.  There’s been no collusion, there never was, they knew that from day one.

HERRIDGE:  Let me ask you --

TRUMP:  He should be -- he should be treated the same way as other people are treated, and they’re not doing that.

HERRIDGE:  So he’s not being treated fairly?  Is that what you’re saying?

TRUMP:  Not when they want to bring in people -- outside people to interview him, or other people on staff.  I mean they’re politicians, they’re supposed to be good at doing it, and I don’t -- I thought he was  -- I thought he was fantastic yesterday, he was very truthful, very straight up, a very solid person.  A great person, and I think that no, they’re not treating him fairly.

HERRIDGE:  I want you to respond to some comments from the chairman of that committee, Jerry Nadler.  He likened you to a quote, “Dictator” today and he’s threatened to hold the attorney general in contempt.

TRUMP:  Well look, I had been probably a person that’s given more to (AUDIO GAP).  Documents -- hundreds of people have been interviewed, I’ve allowed lawyers to be interviewed.  I didn’t have to do any of that, I could’ve used presidential privilege, but I’ve been the most transparent president in history.

I don’t think anybody has been as open as I have, and you know the reason I was?  Because I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t do anything with Russia.  So I said, “Give them all the documents you want, give them all the people you want.”

Somebody told me there was 500 people that were interviewed, I could’ve stopped all of it.  I didn’t do that, and now we win with Mueller, where they come up very strongly with no collusion, and no obstruction -- no nothing.  We win very strongly, and now they want to do it all over again?

Now we won in the House, we won in the Senate because Senator Burr said there’s been no collusion, so we won ... through that.  We won here, I mean the Mueller report was a total win – but think of it, we go through this, this is two and a half years now I’ve been going through the same thing, and the guilt is on the other side not on our side -- the guilt is on the other side.

HERRIDGE:  Are you saying the House Committee should be satisfied with the findings in the Mueller report, and they should not do independent oversight?

TRUMP:  Well I think they should be satisfied with the findings, they spent $35 million -- or somebody told me today maybe $40 million on the Mueller report.  They had 18 people, most of whom -- I think all of whom disliked Donald Trump.  They were Democrats, they contributed to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

They had conflicts all over the place, and it still came out no collusion.  I can’t imagine they can keep doing this, this is done just to try and bring me down to a -- and I had my highest poll numbers today which is -- you’ll have to explain that to me, because with all that we do I had my best poll numbers.

So with – yes, I think they’re treating this very unfairly, I think it’s time to get down to business.  I want to do infrastructure, I want to do prescription drug pricing, low. I want to do all the other things that we want to do.  Nobody’s done more.  It’s an incredible thing, Catherine.

Nobody’s done more than President Trump and this administration in two and a half years, ever in their first two and a half years.  And despite that, I’m wasting time with all of this stuff, it is very unfair.  And I think they’re treating our attorney general, who is a highly respected man, very unfairly.

HERRIDGE:  Would you be comfortable if your attorney general was held in contempt?

TRUMP:  Well, I’ll have to ask him.  I really don’t know -- as far as I’m concerned I don’t know how you could do a thing like that.  Again, we’ve been the most transparent in the history of this country -- there’s never been a president that has allowed them to take every document.  I didn’t have to give -- you know the law better than anybody.  I watch you all the time, I think you’re terrific --

HERRIDGE:  I’ve never been to law school, just to let you know.

TRUMP:  But you know the law better than the lawyers, that I can say.  But, I don’t have to give -- I didn’t have to give all of this documentation -- probably in the end I would have had to give none.

I didn’t have to get all these testify, I let them all do it because we did nothing wrong, I knew that.  They found nothing.  With all of this, they spent $35 to $40 million, they found nothing.

So yes, I think we’ve been treated very unfairly.  And they’re doing it not for any legal reason, they’re doing it for a political reason because they want to – want-- look, they want to win a race in 2020, and I see what they’re up against today.

I see where Biden put in a statement -- or a strong statement that China’s not a big problem.  Well China is a big problem.  We’re losing $500 billion a year to China.  There’s a great hostility.  There’s a great -- China’s a big problem.  And when somebody says that it shows they don’t know what’s happening.

HERRIDGE:  Let me ask you on China, what’s it going to take to close the deal with China?

TRUMP:  Well, we are very close to a deal with China.  But it’s a question of whether or not I want to make it.  I mean we’re going to make either a real deal, or we’re not going to make a deal at all.

And if we don’t make a deal we’re going to tariff China, and that’ll be fine.  We’ll -- frankly we’ll make a lot of money.  You know you saw the deficit going down.  You see the 3.2, which was highly -- you know the GDP was 3.2 first quarter.  Always the worst quarter, and we had a tremendous first quarter.

This country is doing well.  This country is doing probably better economically than it’s ever done before.  We have the best unemployment numbers we’ve had in 51 years, soon to be historic.

HERRIDGE:  Let me ask you President Trump, where are you willing to give with the Chinese?

TRUMP:  Well look, I have a very good relationship with President Xi, but as I explained to him, I don’t blame them because they ripped off our country and we allowed that to happen.  I blame past presidents and representatives for allowing this to happen.

Representatives of our country, why did they let this happen?  Why are we losing $500 billion -- for years, $500 billion a year.  We -- we rebuilt China.  They took advantage of us on trade like nobody in history has ever taken advantage of anyone.

Now we’re making either a great deal or we won’t make a deal at all.  And if we don’t make a deal at all, we’ll use tariffs and we’ll get back to (inaudible).

HERRIDGE:  (Inaudible) White House meeting with the Chinese president?

TRUMP:  I think it could it happen.  It depends where we are.  I mean we’re, you know, very far along on a deal.  Intellectual property theft.  We’re covering a lot of …

HERRIDGE:  Are you optimistic -- are you optimistic about a June meeting?

TRUMP:  I think we can probably do that.  Yes, I do.  I think we can do that.  Yes.

HERRIDGE:  I want to come back to the attorney general, because the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a very serious charge today.  She accused him of lying during his April testimony about his conversations with Mueller and Mueller’s concerns.

Should the attorney general have volunteered to Congress during his April testimony that he had received the letter from Mueller and that Mueller had concerns about this notification to Congress and context?

TRUMP:  Well, I know nothing about it.  You’re just telling me that for the first time.  But I will say this, that we gave the entire report, 400 and some odd pages, so whether it was a little bit down road, which of course they want to be able to read it and they want to be able to see it.

But any letter that was written or any statements that were made, we have been -- I think they held back about 8 percent, and that’s because they had a legal reason to hold 8 percent.  It was redacted, and even that I understand is a big deal.  But we gave the entire report. So I don’t think a letter makes any difference.

HERRIDGE:  Maybe let me rephrase that.

TRUMP:  Please.

HERRIDGE:  Yes.  Do you think the attorney general should have been more forthcoming during his April testimony and volunteered to lawmakers that he had received a letter from Robert Mueller and that Robert Mueller had concerns.

TRUMP:  I really don’t know the subject.  I really don’t know what the complaint is.  I think that …

HERRIDGE:  The complaint is about the attorney general’s notification to Congress lacking context and really not effectively communicating the nature and the substance of the investigation.

TRUMP: Well, of the investigation or what was in the agreement -- I mean what was in the pages?

HERRIDGE:  What was in the four page letter from the attorney general.

TRUMP:  Well, the four page letter really was followed by 400 and some odd pages very shortly thereafter with very little redaction.  So if you look at it, he (ph) was very open.  Again, he was very transparent.  We could have redacted -- again -- you know, we could have redacted 90 percent of it.  We didn’t have to give it at all.

You know it was my prerogative.  I didn’t have to give that 400 page document at all.  I could have held it back. In fact, Rod Rosenstein, I believe, wanted to hold it back.  Others wanted to hold it back.  People said you don’t really have to give it at all.

HERRIDGE:  The deputy -- the deputy -- excuse me for interrupting.  The deputy attorney general …

TRUMP:  I heard that his recommendation -- no it wasn’t like you have to or we can’t -- but we had the right.  I had the right to hold back that document if I wanted to -- or they did.  They didn’t do that.

They gave the entire 400 and some odd page document and that was made by the attorney general and perhaps the deputy, but there were people that said you didn’t have to do it at all.  We gave it.  So we were very transparent.  I can’t imagine, Catherine, being more transparent.

HERRIDGE:  After everything that’s happened today, under what circumstances would you allow the White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify to Congress about the Special Counsel investigation?

TRUMP:  Well, he’s been testifying for so many hours, 30 hours.  I allowed him to testify.  Nobody else would do that.  I did that because it wouldn’t matter to me.  He can say whatever he wants to say.  I did nothing wrong.  I knew that.

And if I thought I did something wrong, I don’t know what I’d do.  I wouldn’t have probably let anybody testify.  But I let everybody.  Again, almost 500 people they interviewed and there’s never been anything like this.

Now, they’ve already testified.  I don’t want to go through this -- and what’s going to happen when we’re finished with the House?  Then we’re going to do another one with the Senate, then we’re going to do another one with somebody else?

Look, I think what they should be focusing on is how did this mess start?  How did this whole investigation start, because I think it’s corrupt as hell, and I think what’s happened between Comey and McCabe and Brennan and all of these people -- and Strzok and his lover, Lisa Page; there’s tremendous things that people want to find out, and they really want to find it out and I hope they’re going to.

HERRIDGE:  Is there a timeline on when the public will see these Russia records declassified?

TRUMP:  Yes, I’m going to be allowing declassification pretty soon.  I didn’t want to do it originally because I wanted to wait, because I know what they -- you know I’ve seen the way they play.  They play very dirty.  So I decided to do it, and I’m going to be doing if very soon, far more than you would have even thought?

HERRIDGE:  May, June, July?

TRUMP:  No, soon.  I mean whenever they need it.  Whenever they need it I’ll be doing it but I will declassifying it.  Everything.

HERRIDGE:  Director Comey wrote in the New York Times; he called you quote “a moral” and that this has rubbed off on the attorney general and the deputy attorney general.

TRUMP:  Well Comey leaked and he lied.  He lied in front to Congress.  He was sworn testimony, classified information.  I did a terrible job.  Everybody wanted him fired -- you now everybody; Schumer, every Democrat almost, every Republican, almost-- probably 100 percent, but I say almost just to say it so there’s no mistake.

But I -- I read quotes from Schumer and prior to my firing every wanted him gone.  He did a lousy job.  He was a terrible director.  Terrible.  There was dissension in the FBI.

HERRIDGE:  Can I ask you a question President Trump?

TRUMP:  Yes.

HERRIDGE:  If you take Director Comey out of the equation and his actions in 2016 and 2017, would the country be where it is today?

TRUMP:  I think that he did a terrible job.  I would say he probably, say he probably led some kind of an effort.  The word spying has been used.  He probably was one of the people leading the effort on spying.

HERRIDGE:  That’s a very serious charge to make.

TRUMP:  I know, I know, and we’ll find out whether or not it was true, and I think it could very well be true, but we’re going to find out pretty soon.

HERRIDGE:  On Venezuela, if Juan Guaido is detained or physically threatened, how will the U.S. respond?

TRUMP:  Well that won’t be a good thing, that would be very unfortunate.  He’s actually a brave person, and because I know what he’s going through -- I’m speaking to our people all the time.  He’s a brave guy, and what’s happening in Venezuela is sad.

When you look at 20 years ago it was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, if you think about it, and now they don’t have food, and they don’t have water and people are dying from hunger.  It’s a very, very serious situation.

HERRIDGE:  What are your red lines in Venezuela?

TRUMP:  I don’t want to say, but we have lots of options and some of them are very tough options.

HERRIDGE:  Is there a tipping point for military intervention?

TRUMP:  There’s always a tipping point, but certainly I’d rather not do that.  I just want to help the people -- the people are dying.  They have nothing, these were people that were living well 20 years ago.  Catherine, they have nothing, they don’t have water and food -- and they’re dying of hunger right on the border, it’s terrible.

HERRIDGE:  I want to talk about 2020 --

TRUMP:  OK.

HERRIDGE:  Have you told the Russian president to back off the 2020 election?

TRUMP:  I don’t think I’ve spoken to him about the 2020, but I certainly have told him you can’t do what you’re doing.  And I don’t believe they will be -- I don’t believe they will --

HERRIDGE:  Have you been very firm with the Russian president on that point?

TRUMP:  I think so, I think I have been.  I think nobody’s done more about Russia than I have.  President Obama in September, before the November election -- my November election, if you look he was told by the FBI and others, he did nothing about it.

HERRIDGE:  What could he have done?

TRUMP:  Well he could have done something, I mean he could have called out to Putin (ph) and he could have said let’s look at this very closely -- he did absolutely nothing, because he thought that crooked Hillary, was going to win the election and she didn’t even come close.

So it’s just one of those things, you know?  And it had nothing to do, by the way, with Russia because everybody said it didn’t affect the vote, you’ve heard that many times it didn’t affect the vote.  But I don’t want Russia or anybody else playing around with our elections.

HERRIDGE:  Senator Graham said to CBS last weekend that he would support more sanctions, not less -- what’s your position?

TRUMP:  On what?

HERRIDGE:  On Russia.

TRUMP:  Well I think we’ve done a lot of sanctioning of Russia.  I brought up the pipeline, I’m helping Ukraine far more than President Obama did.  We’re doing a lot of sanctions on Russia, I’ve signed a lot of sanctions on Russia.

You know, eventually we want to be able to get along with countries too, you have to remember that.  Whether it’s Russia, or China, or anybody else.  But again, nobody has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.

HERRIDGE:  I want to ask you about politics.

TRUMP:  OK.

HERRIDGE:  Another Democrat entered the race today, is it Joe Biden’s nomination to lose (ph)?

TRUMP:  Who’s the other Democrat that entered?

HERRIDGE:  It was the Colorado Senator, I believe Bennett.

TRUMP:  He’s not going to win.

HERRIDGE:  Is it Joe Biden --

TRUMP:  I think that Biden seems to have the lead, I’d be very happy if it were Biden.

HERRIDGE:  Happy why?

TRUMP:  Sleepy Joe -- I think he does -- I think he did a bad job, I’d be running against President Obama.

HERRIDGE:  So you think he’s beatable?

TRUMP:  I just don’t think he’d be a very good candidate.  I mean, we’ll see what happens -- I hope.  You know, I wish him well -- I’d like him to get it, I’d be happy.  I’d be happy with Bernie.  I personally think it’s those two.

HERRIDGE:  Between those two?

TRUMP:  I think it’s between those two, I don’t see anybody else (inaudible).  Now in my case --

HERRIDGE:  Who would you rather face?

TRUMP:  I announced, and I think I was pretty much right at -- I know I was at the top from the beginning.  I think he is now leading, Bernie would be second -- we’ll see what happens.

HERRIDGE:  Who would you rather face?

TRUMP:  Well I don’t want to say that to you, but I don’t think it matters very much.  I think we’re going to do well.  We have the strongest economy that we’ve ever had, we’re doing phenomenally.

We have the best unemployment numbers, African American, Asians, Hispanics -- best numbers we’ve ever had.  Women -- the best in 61 years, unemployment numbers, job numbers, wealth numbers -- we have the best numbers.  We – I think we have the best economy we’ve ever had and we have more people, Catherine, working right now than ever in the history of our country.  So I don’t know why somebody beats that.

HERRIDGE:  I’d like to you comment on some statements the vice president made while he was campaigning in Iowa.  He said, China is, quote, “Not competition for us,” for the U.S.

TRUMP:  Are you talking about – which vice president?

HERRIDGE:  Vice – I’m sorry, former Vice President Biden.  I apologize.

TRUMP:  Oh, the current vice president is much more talented.  He wouldn’t have made that statement.

HERRIDGE:  Pardon me.

TRUMP:  Mike Pence would not have made that statement.  Everyone’s competition.  I view everybody of competition.

HERRIDGE:  Is he being naive about China?

TRUMP:  Oh, he is very naive about China.  China – right now, we lose $500 billion.  After I sign the deal, there won’t be anything like that.  China just, during the Obama years in particular, just took advantage of our country so badly.  A very, very big competition, China.  And I’ve stopped it, and I am stopping it.

You know, during the course of the last two and a half years, we’ve gone up $17 trillion in value.  China’s gone down $17 trillion.  China, as you know, has taken a very, very big hit, because of the tariffs and everything else I’ve imposed.  We’ll see whether or not we have a deal.

We have a very big chance to have a great deal.  But for somebody to be naive and say that China’s not a problem, if Biden actually said that, that’s a very dumb statement to make.

HERRIDGE:  That's the quote, “Not a competition for us.”

TRUMP:  Yes, that’s a very foolish statement.

HERRIDGE:  Should the former vice president explain himself on his feelings in Ukraine and whether there was a conflict –

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  Oh, I hear it’s – yes, I hear it’s a very serious problem.  Sure.

(CROSSTALK)

HERRIDGE:  – with his son’s business interests?

TRUMP:  I’m hearing it’s a major scandal, major problem.  Very bad things happened, and we’ll see what that is.   They even have him on tape, talking about it.  They have Joe Biden on tape talking about the prosecutor.  And I’ve seen that tape.  A lot of people are talking about that tape, but that’s up to them.  They have to solve that problem.

HERRDIGE:  You retweeted a story from “The New York Times” today.

TRUMP:  On what?

HERRIDGE:  On Biden, the former vice president –

TRUMP:  About that – or about Ukraine?

HERRIDGE:  – Ukraine?

TRUMP:  Yes.

HERRIDGE:  Ukraine, yes.

TRUMP:  Yes – no, I think it’s a big problem for him.

HERRIDGE:  This is not fake news on that story?

TRUMP:  It might not be.  I hope for him it is fake news.  I don’t think it is.

HERRIDGE:  I know that we want to wrap up, but I just have a few more questions –

TRUMP:  Go ahead.

HERRIDGE:  – if that’s OK?  Thank you very much.  I just want to be clear on Don McGahn, under what circumstances would you allow him to testify to Congress about the special counsel investigation?

TRUMP:  Well, I’ve had him testifying already for 30 hours.

HERRIDGE:  Was the answer no –

TRUMP:  And it’s really – so I don’t think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can’t, because – especially him, because he was a counsel.  So they’ve testified for many hours, all of them, many, many, many people.

(CROSSTALK)

HERRIDGE:  So as far as you’re concerned, it’s really kind of done?  It’s not –

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  I can’t say well, one can and the others can’t.

HERRIDGE:  OK.  So is it done?

TRUMP:  I would say it’s done.  We both knew this.  Nobody has ever done what I’ve done.  I’ve given total transparency.  It’s never happened before like this.

HERRIDGE:  So Congress should be –

TRUMP:  They –

HERRIDGE:  Congress should be –

TRUMP:  -- they shouldn’t be looking anymore.  This is all – it’s done.  Even my finances, it must’ve been looked at for $35 million.  I assume they looked at my taxes.  I assume that Mueller looked at my financial statements.

For $35 million and having 20 people plus 49 FBI agents and all of the staff and all of the money that was spent, they – I assume they looked at my taxes, which are fine.  And I assume – except they are under audit, by the way.  I will tell you that officially, because –

HERRIDGE:  And the New York attorney general’s coming at you pretty hard.

TRUMP:  Well, she campaigned on the fact that “Oh, I’m going to get Trump.  I’m going to get Trump.”  So right there, she’s precluded from doing anything.  I mean can you imagine somebody campaigning who doesn’t know anything about me?  And she’s campaigning on that fact.

So I assume that, for the $35 million, they’ve gone through everything – my taxes, my financial statements, which are phenomenal.  They’ve got through everything, and I’m so clean.  Think of it.  After two and a half years and all of that money spent, nothing.  Very few people could have sustained that.

HERRIDGE:  I’m getting the wrap up signal, but if I could get two more questions in.

TRUMP:  No, I’ve got to go but we’ll do another one.

HERRIDGE:  OK.  Yes.  Can I -- all right --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP:  I have that group waiting for me.

HERRIDGE:  Yes. Can I just do -- can I do just one final question.

TRUMP:  Go ahead.  One more.

HERRIDGE:  OK.  How did the deputy attorney general explain media reports that he discussed secretly recording you and invoking the 25th Amendment?

TRUMP:  I don’t know -- I don’t know what happened.  I mean that …

HERRIDGE:  Did he have a phone call with you about it?  Did he explain it on Air Force One?

TRUMP:  I mean honestly I’d much rather have you ask him that question.  It sounds a little bit farfetched frankly but a lot of things in this case are far-fetched.  But I got along with him, and I think that question you’d probably have to ask him.

HERRIDGE:  OK.  Is there anything you want to add?

TRUMP:  No, I think it’s fine

HERRIDGE:  OK.  All right.  Thank you very much for the opportunity.  I hope we’ll be able to do it again.

TRUMP:  Thank you.  Good.  We will do it again.  Thank you Catherine.  I appreciate it.

HERRIDGE:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

TRUMP:  Appreciate it.