This is a rush transcript from "Fox News Sunday," November 18, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.
Midway through his term in the wake of dramatic election results, President Trump at a turning point.
WALLACE: This hour, we'll bring you our exclusive interview with the president inside the White House, as he shakes up his team for the next two years in his run for reelection.
If you can't carry Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, you're not going to get reelected.
Facing the end game the special councils Russia probe.
If Whitaker decides in any way to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you OK with that?
And who's behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?
Did MBS lie to you, sir?
Plus, the president responds to criticism for not going to Arlington cemetery on Veterans Day.
Barack Obama went every year he was here in D.C.
We'll get reaction to the interview from our Sunday panel and Mr. Trump takes us inside his office.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: There's nothing like it in the world.
WALLACE: And describes how he makes his toughest decisions.
All, right now, on "Fox News Sunday".
WALLACE: And hello again from Fox News in Washington.
As President Trump starts the final two years of his term, he faces new challenges. For the first time he must deal with a divided Congress after Democrats regain control of the House. Robert Mueller's Russia probe appears to be reaching its conclusion and there are new challenges overseas from allies Saudi Arabia and adversaries like North Korea.
We sat down with Mr. Trump Friday in the Roosevelt Room just across from the Oval Office, hoping to explore a presidency at a turning point.
WALLACE: Mr. President, thank you for talking with us.
TRUMP: Thank you Chris, very much.
WALLACE: Let's start with the state of Donald Trump.
WALLACE: There are a number of stories out there that you're angry about the mid-terms, about your treatment in the media, about the way you were treated when you were in Paris. One story even said that you were in a, quote, cocoon of bitterness and resentment.
WALLACE: We'll get in to all the details later but how dark is your mood?
TRUMP: It's very light, it's fake news. It's disgusting fake news.
I read a front page here in The Washington Post, they never even called me, nobody ever calls me. You know, they hear -- I don't even think they have sources I think they just make it up like it's fiction.
And I will tell you I'm extremely upbeat, the White House is running like a well-oiled machine, it's doing really well, I have great people. I will make some changes but not very many.
I'm very happy with my cabinet, other than, you know a couple of exceptions and even then I'm not unhappy. And I will tell you that it's so wrong, the reporting about me is so wrong. I'm loving what I'm doing, I did well in France, I did have a problem where I wasn't able to go to a cemetery because the Secret Service would not let me do it.
WALLACE: We'll get in to all of this in --
TRUMP: No, but I'm just saying the Secret Service would not let me do it and they made it a big deal.
WALLACE: You said a lot of things there, let's try to unpack them. There's a lot of talk about staff changes. Your deputy national security advisor was moved out after your wife did something I've never heard of a first lady doing before publicly calling for her removal.
Are you comfortable with the way that went down where it kind of looked like your wife was firing one of your advisors?
TRUMP: Well, I didn't know the advisor well, really, and I know they had a lot of problems. My wife did a great job in Africa and she was not treated properly by the press. She really worked so hard.
They came to me. They wanted to go a little bit public because that's the way they felt and I thought it was fine.
I met with Mira two days ago and we're going to move her around. She was with me for a long time, although I don't know her. She's really somebody I don't know very well. But we're going to move her around because she's got certain talents.
But, frankly, she is not -- she'll never be put in the United Nations, let me put it that way.
WALLACE: Meaning she's not too diplomatic?
TRUMP: She's not too diplomatic, but she's talented.
WALLACE: Are you happy with Kirstjen Nielsen at DHS?
TRUMP: Well, I like her a lot. I respect her a lot. She's very smart.
I want her to get much tougher and we'll see what happens there. But I want to be extremely tough.
WALLACE: What are the chances she'll be DHS secretary --
TRUMP: Well there's a chance. But there's a chance everybody -- I mean, that's what happens in government you leave, you make a name, you go. The people that have left have done very well. The people that have left have done very well -- from my White House.
I like her very much. I respect her very much. I'd like her to be much tougher on the border -- much tougher, period.
WALLACE: Back in July you said that Chief of Staff John Kelly will be here through 2020.
TRUMP: Well --
WALLACE: Can you still say that?
TRUMP: We -- I wouldn't -- look, we get along well. There are certain things I love what he does. And there are certain things that I don't like that he does -- that aren't his strength. It's not that he doesn't do -- you know, he works so hard.
He's doing an excellent job in many ways. There are a couple of things where it's just not his strength. It's not his fault it's not his strength.
WALLACE: Such as?
TRUMP: But I haven't even thought about John in terms of this. But John, at some point, is going to want to move on. John will move on.
WALLACE: So 2020 is no longer written in stone?
TRUMP: It could happen. Yes, it could -- I mean it could be. But let's see what happens.
I have not -- look, I have three or four or five positions that I'm thinking about. Of that, maybe it's going to end up being two. Maybe -- but I want to -- I need flexibility.
WALLACE: You have already made at least one big change, naming Matt Whitaker as your acting --
WALLACE: -- attorney general.
He has a long record of speaking out against the Special Counsel and his probe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced, in a recess appointment, and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller but he just reduces the budget so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt.
The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Did you know, before you appointed him, that he had that record and was so critical of Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: I did not know that.
I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such.
WALLACE: And when you found that out?
TRUMP: I don't think it had any effect. If you look at those statements - - those statements that can -- they really can be viewed really either way, but I don't think will have anything --
ALLACE: Well, he says there's no collusion and he says --
TRUMP: Chris, I'll tell you what --
WALLACE: He says you can starve the investigation --
TRUMP: What do you do when a person's right? There is no collusion. He happened to be right. I mean, he said it.
So if he said there is collusion, I'm supposed to be taking somebody that says there is? Because then I wouldn't take him for two reasons, but the number one reason is the fact that he would have been wrong. If he said that there's no collusion, he's right.
WALLACE: He is going to have to make or could potentially make a lot of big calls in the Mueller investigation. If Mueller decides that he wants to subpoena you, the Attorney General Whitaker can block that. If Mueller issues a final report, he can decide how much goes to Congress or doesn't go to Congress.
You tweeted this week about, quote, Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs.
WALLACE: If Whitaker decides in any way to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you OK with that?
TRUMP: Look, he -- it's going to be up to him. I think he's very well aware politically. I think he's astute politically. He's a very smart person. A very respected person. He's going to do what's right. I really believe he's going to do what's right.
WALLACE: But you won't overrule him if he decides to curtail --
TRUMP: I would not get involved. And all these people that say I'm going to end the investigation, you know, they've been saying that now for -- how long has this witch hunt gone on? It's gone on for, what?
WALLACE: Since May of '17 --
TRUMP: OK, but how long have I been looked at? You know when I've been looked at? From the day I --
WALLACE: Since July of 2016.
TRUMP: From the day I announced. I was looked at as a candidate with nothing, no proof, with phony people like McCabe and Strzok and his lover - - you had Lisa Page, his lover. These people were looking at me, they wanted an insurance policy just in case I won or Hillary lost, and this was the insurance policy.
It's a scam. There was no collusion whatsoever, and the whole thing is a scam.
WALLACE: Your team is preparing written answers to questions about --
TRUMP: No, no, no, not my team. I'm preparing written answers. My -- I - - I'm the one that does the answering. Yes, are they writing them out?
TRUMP: Yes. They're writing what I tell them to write.
WALLACE: Are they going to be submitted?
TRUMP: At some point very soon, yes.
I've completed them.
WALLACE: So you're -- you are submitting --
TRUMP: And it wasn't a big deal -- by the way, it wasn't a big deal. The answers -- the questions were asked and answered. It wasn't a big deal.
You know, they make it like I had meetings for many, many hours -- I got the questions, I responded, we read them out, I read them once, I read them a second time, we made some changes, that's it. They're very simple.
TRUMP: You know why? I did nothing wrong.
WALLACE: Here's my question, though. You were submitting written answers --
WALLACE: -- to the special counsel about the issue of collusion but not on obstruction of justice?
TRUMP: Well there was no obstruction of justice.
WALLACE: I -- I'm -- let me -- if I may, sir, just ask --
TRUMP: I think they'd probably agree with me.
WALLACE: Is that your final position, that there's going to be no sit-down interview and nothing written or in person on obstruction?
TRUMP: I would say probably. Probably. I mean, I can change my mind, but probably. I think we've --
WALLACE: No --
TRUMP: I think we've wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably, we're finished.
WALLACE: What are the odds? One in a hundred? What?
TRUMP: I don't do odds. We would -- I gave very --
WALLACE: You ran a casino, sir.
TRUMP: You're right, and very successfully actually.
We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn't have even be asked and I think that should solve the problem, I hope it solves the problem. If it doesn't, you know, I'll be told and we'll make a decision at that time. But probably this is the end.
WALLACE: Turkish President Erdogan says that he has shared a tape with the U.S. and other countries that is of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
WALLACE: Have you one, either heard the tape yourself or been briefed on it? And if so, to your mind what does it show?
TRUMP: We have the tape, I don't want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape.
WALLACE: Why don't you want to hear it, sir?
TRUMP: Because it's a suffering tape, it's a terrible tape. I've been fully briefed on it. There's no reason for me to hear it.
In fact I said to the people should I? They said, you really shouldn't, there's no reason. I know exactly - I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it.
WALLACE: And what happened?
TRUMP: It was very violent, very vicious and terrible.
WALLACE: A month ago, you said you had spoken with Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman and that he had told you directly that he had no knowledge of this.
TRUMP: That's right, that's right and still says that.
WALLACE: But we now know that some of the people closest to him, some of his closest advisors were part of this. Question, did MBS lie to your sir?
TRUMP: I don't - I don't know. You know, who can really know? But I can say this, he's got many people now that say he had no knowledge.
WALLACE: But what if the crown prince speaking to you, the President of the United States, directly lied to you --
TRUMP: Yes, he told me that he had nothing to do with it, he told me that -- I would say maybe five times at different points.
WALLACE: But what if he's lying?
TRUMP: As recently as a few days ago.
WALLACE: Do you just live with it because you need him?
TRUMP: Well, will anybody really know? All right, will anybody really know?
But he did have certainly people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved. You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.
WALLACE: So, if Congress were to move to either try to cut off any U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen or to block any arms sales you won't go along with it?
TRUMP: Well I want to see Yemen in but it takes two to tango. Iran has to end it also. And Iran is a different country than it was when I took over, it's far weakened because of what I did with the Iran -- so-called Iran deal, Iran nuclear deal, which was one of the great rip-offs of all time.
But I want Saudi to stop but I want Iran to stop also.
WALLACE: When Democrats flipped the House back in 2006 and picked up 30 seats, President Bush 43 had a news conference the next day and said, "We had a thumping."
Last week, in this election, the House picked up, so far -- it's 36 seats, it may be on the way to 40 seats and your reaction was that it was almost a complete victory.
TRUMP: I won the Senate, you don't mention that.
WALLACE: But, well -- I --
TRUMP: Excuse me, I won the Senate, in --
WALLACE: I understand that but --
TRUMP: -- I think they said 88 years --
WALLACE: But this was a -- this was a historically big defeat in the House. You lost 36, maybe 40 seats. Some would argue that it was a thumping.
And I want to talk about some of the ways in which you lost. You lost in traditionally Republican suburbs, not only around liberal cities like Philadelphia and D.C., but also red-state big cities like Houston and Oklahoma City.
You lost among suburban women. You lost among independents and, in three key states that I think you remember pretty well -- Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan -- you lost both the governor seats and the Senate seats.
TRUMP: Are you ready?
I won the Senate, and that's historic too, because if you look at presidents in the White House, it's almost never happened where you won a seat. We won -- we now have 53 as opposed to 51 and we have 53 great Senators in the U.S. Senate. We won. That's a tremendous victory. Nobody talks about that.
That's a far greater victory than it is for the other side. Number two, I wasn't on the ballot. I wasn't --
WALLACE: Wait -- wait a minute you said -- you kept saying --
TRUMP: No, I said, look at me -- I said look me --
WALLACE: You said, pretend I'm on the ballot --
TRUMP: But I had people and you see the polls, how good they are, I had people that won't vote unless I'm on the ballot, OK? And I wasn't on the ballot.
And almost everybody that I won -- I think they said it was 10 out of 11. And I won against President Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama in a great state called Georgia for the governor. And it was all stacked against Brian and I was the one that went for Brian and Brian won.
Look at Florida. I went down to Florida. Rick Scott won and he won by a lot. I don't know what happened to all those votes that disappeared at the very end.
And if I didn't put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes, he would of lost that election, OK? In my opinion, he would have lost. They would have taken that election away from him.
Rick Scott won Florida. He kept the state.
Excuse me, a man named Ron DeSantis is now your governor -- your new governor of Florida.
A wonderful man named DeWine is your governor of the great state of Ohio. Remember what they used to say before my election? You cannot win unless you win Ohio. I won Ohio.
We had a tremendous set of victories. You look at the victories --
WALLACE: But if you can't carry -- and you certainly didn't carry it two weeks ago -- Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania -- you're not going to get reelected.
TRUMP: I didn't run. I wasn't running. My name wasn't on the ballot.
There are many people that think, "I don't like Congress," that like me a lot. I get it all the time; "Sir, I will never vote unless you were on the ballot." I get it all the time.
People are saying, "Sir, I will never vote unless you're on the ballot. I say, "No, no, go and vote." "Well, what do you mean?"
As much as I try and convince people to go vote, I'm not on the ballot.
WALLACE: Up next, much more from our exclusive interview with President Trump. We have a spirited exchange about is calling fake news the enemy of the American people, and Mr. Trump makes a rare admission, he'd like a do- over.
WALLACE: We're back now with more from our exclusive interview with President Trump.
About an hour before we sat down with the president, there was breaking news, a ruling on the CNN lawsuit against the White House for pulling a reporter's press pass. CNN argued that Trump administration violated its First Amendment rights. Administration lawyers said Mr. Trump can exclude any reporter he wants from the White House grounds.
And that's where we started in the second part of our interview with the president.
WALLACE: A federal judge who you appointed has just ruled that you must give CNN reporter Jim Acosta his press pass back. Your reaction to the ruling.
TRUMP: I -- it's fine, I mean, it's not a big deal.
What they said though was that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, et cetera, et cetera. We're doing that. We're going to write them up right now, it's not a big deal.
And if he misbehaves, we'll throw him out, or we'll stop the news conference.
WALLACE: What are your rules going to be? What is it that you're saying this is over the line and you --
TRUMP: Yes, they're doing them now. I mean, we'll have rules of decorum. You know, you can't keep asking questions. You have - we had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts doing what he's supposed to be doing for him and for CNN, and, you know, just shouting out questions.
But I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do and if I think somebody's acting out of sorts, I will leave, I'll say thank you very much, everybody, I appreciate you coming and I'll leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up.
WALLACE: Why didn't you call on Acosta in the first place? I mean, it seems to me there's a simple solution here, so don't call on him.
TRUMP: Actually, I like to do it but in many cases I don't. He'll stand up. He's unbelievably rude to Sarah Huckabee who's a wonderful woman, unbelievably rude.
And I see that and I actually ask her the same. Why do you call on these people that are so nasty? I think one of the things we'll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them because then they don't have any air time, although I'll probably be sued for that and maybe win or lose it, who knows? I mean, with this stuff, you never know what's going to happen.
WALLACE: Let's get to the bigger issue. In 2017, last year, you tweeted this, and I want to quote it accurately, "The fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people."
TRUMP: That's true, 100 percent. Not the media.
WALLACE: I --
TRUMP: I'm glad you're finally calling it correctly because they like to leave the fake news.
WALLACE: OK, but that's what you said.
TRUMP: Fake news -- so, the people --
WALLACE: But --
TRUMP: -- that are supporting me in particular, they're very smart people. They're hard working, brilliant, great people. They know when the news is fake and they get angry when they see all of the fakeness that I -- frankly --
WALLACE: But there have been people who have been critical of other presidents, they're -- no president has liked his press coverage. John Kennedy, in your Oval Office, canceled the subscription to "The New York Herald-Tribune". Nobody called it the enemy of the American people.
TRUMP: Chris, I'm calling the fake news is the enemy -- it's fake, it's phony.
WALLACE: But a lot times it's news you don't like.
TRUMP: No, it's not -- no. No, I don't mind getting bad news if I'm wrong. If I do something wrong, like, for instance, the cemetery. I was not allowed to go because of the Secret Service. Because they expected to take a helicopter --
TRUMP: They had zero visibility. They said, sir, we are totally unequipped for you to go.
In addition to that, the cemetery was far too far away from Air Force One, which is sort of like a control center where you had to be near.
Not one paper that I saw wrote it that way. They said I stayed out of it because of the rain. And yet, the following day, I made a speech at the American cemetery.
WALLACE: I understand.
TRUMP: It was pouring. It wasn't even really raining the first day but the fog was tremendous. OK?
WALLACE: But, sir, leaders in authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, now repress the media using your words.
TRUMP: I can't talk for other people, I can only talk for me. I will tell you --
WALLACE: But -- but you're seen around the world as a beacon for repression not for --
TRUMP: Chris -- Chris, I'm not talking about you -- but you sometimes maybe. But I'm not talking about you.
The news about me is largely phony. It's false. Even sometimes they'll say, "Sources say." There is no source, in many cases -- in cases there is. But --
WALLACE: I understand you don't like the coverage.
TRUMP: No, no, no. It's not --
WALLACE: Can I just bring the -- can I just bring the bigger -
TRUMP: Ninety-four percent negative.
WALLACE: Can I bring the -- the bigger issue up.
WALLACE: Bill McRaven, Retired Admiral, Navy Seal, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations --
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Special Operation --
TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his life.
TRUMP: OK, he's a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama backer and frankly --
WALLACE: He's a Navy SEAL --
TRUMP: Would it have been nicer if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn't it been nice? Living -- think of this, living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion, I don't know, I've seen nicer.
But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there. And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion and year and they don't tell him, they don't tell him --
WALLACE: You're not even going to give them credit for taking down Bin Laden?
TRUMP: They took him down but look, look, there's news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we're supporting Pakistan, we're giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don't give them any more by the way, I ended it, because they don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us.
I'm totally in favor of the media, I'm totally in favor of free press, got to be fair press. When it's fake --
WALLACE: But the President gets (ph) to decide what's fair and what's not.
TRUMP: I can tell what's fair and what's not and so can my people and so can a lot of other people.
WALLACE: I understand that but --
TRUMP: When you do something very good and they write it badly and this is consistently when you - as an example, rarely do talk about --
WALLACE: Barak Obama whined about Fox News all the time but he never said we were the enemy of the people.
TRUMP: Well, no, he didn't talk about the news, he didn't talk about anything. I'm only saying it very differently than anyone's ever said it before, I'm saying fake news, false reporting, dishonest reporting of which there is a lot, and I know it. See, I know it because I'm a subject of it, a lot of people don't know but when I explain it to them, they understand it.
And, Chris, you know that better, you don't have to sit here and act like a perfect little, wonderful, innocent angel. I know you too well, I knew your father too well, that's not your gene. But let me tell you --
WALLACE: Look, I take some of the coverage of you sir and I've said it on the record is biased, but I don't think that they are --
TRUMP: Most of it is biased, most of it.
WALLACE: I don't know but the idea that you call us the enemy of the people.
TRUMP: I'm not calling you that.
WALLACE: I'm talking about, we're all together.
TRUMP: I'm not calling you - you don't understand it.
WALLACE: We're all together.
TRUMP: No, no, no, I'm not calling you --
WALLACE: It doesn't matter what you call - when you call CNN and "The New York Times" and we're in solidarity, sir.
TRUMP: I am calling fake news, fake reporting is what's tearing this country apart because people know, people like things that are happening and they're not hearing about it.
WALLACE: Where do you rank yourself in the pantheon of great Presidents? There is Lincoln and Washington, there's FDR and Reagan. Do you make the top 10?
TRUMP: I think I'm doing a great job. We have the best economy we've ever had.
WALLACE: So where do you rank yourself?
TRUMP: We're doing really well -- we would have been at war with North Korea if let's say that administration would have continued forward.
I would give myself, I would -- look, I hate to do it, but I will do it. I would give myself an A plus, is that enough? Can I go higher than that?
WALLACE: Can you envision a situation -- you talk about six more years. Can you envision a situation well into your second term where you think you're so good for the country and so essential to the progress of the country that you would try to amend the Constitution so you could serve a third time.
TRUMP: No, no.
WALLACE: Why not?
TRUMP: Just won't happen, it's not - I think the eight-year limit is a good thing, not a bad thing.
WALLACE: You've talked a lot all ready about the cemetery and the fact that you didn't go because it was security concern and you did go the next day. Here's the thing --
TRUMP: Excuse me. Not security concern, they wouldn't allow me to go. They said, sir - Secret Service said, sir, you cannot go we are not prepared, you cannot go. Because it was supposed to be helicopter but the helicopter couldn't fly because of zero visibility.
TRUMP: They said, sir, you can not go.
WALLACE: But here's the question, you're back in Washington on Monday, Veterans Day. Why don't you go across the river to Arlington for that ceremony? Barack Obama went every year he was here in D.C.
TRUMP: I should have done that, I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling as you know.
WALLACE: But this is Veterans Day.
TRUMP: I probably -- you know, in retrospect, I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year.
But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American Cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state -- doing other things.
WALLACE: Why --
TRUMP: But I would have -- I would have done it.
WALLACE: Why haven't you visited our troops serving in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in the two years you've been in office as Commander-in- Chief?
TRUMP: Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned. We don't want to talk about it because of -- obviously because of security reasons and everything else.
But there are things that are planned. As you know, I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq. I think it was a tremendous mistake, should have never happened.
WALLACE: But this is for the soldiers, sir.
TRUMP: You're right.
I don't think anybody's been more with the military than I have, as a president. In terms of funding, in terms of all of the things I've been able to get them, including the vets. I don't think anybody's done more than me.
I've had an unbelievable busy schedule and I will be doing it. On top of which you have these phony witch hunts. On top of which -- I mean, we've just been very busy. But I will be doing that.
WALLACE: Just before the midterms, you said your biggest regret is that perhaps you should have had a softer tone in your two years as president. But since then, some could argue, you've been on a tear.
At the press conference the day after the election, you mocked some of the Republican congressmen who lost not embracing you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: You went after two African-American reporters and basically said that they were dumb.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The same thing with April Ryan. I watch her get up. I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser. She doesn't know what the hell she's doing.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Do you want him to reign in Robert Mueller?
TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Question, I was in Saint Joe's (ph), Missouri, this last week and I was talking to a lot of loyal Republicans. They love what you've done to the economy. They love the fact that you have basically put ISIS out of business. The one thing they say is, why do you have to be so divisive? Why don't you do more to bring the country together?
TRUMP: I think that if I was very different, I wouldn't have gotten what we had to get. We got the biggest tax cuts in history, we got ANWR approved, we have -- we got rid of the individual mandate, which was the most unpopular thing you can imagine, health care -- I got rid of it. Everybody said it would be impossible to get rid of it. And many, many -- you know, the regulations.
I think if I was a, you know, more modified, more moderate in that sense, I don't think I would have done half of the things that I was able to get completed. With that being said, other than you have to have a certain ability to fight back and, as you know, people have -- you know, they take strong stance on me both ways, you know love and hate. I'd like to see it a little bit, maybe, more right down the middle. But tone is something that is important to me. But a lot of times you can't practice tone because you have people coming at you so hard that if you don't fight back in a somewhat vigorous way, you're not going to win. And we have to win. This country has to win.
We have a lot of victories coming and I think if I -- if I go too low-key, we're not going to have those victories.
WALLACE: Mr. President, thank you.
TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you very much, Chris.
WALLACE: Very much appreciate it, sir.
TRUMP: Appreciate it. Thank you.
WALLACE: One point of clarification. Admiral McRaven never endorsed a candidate for president in 2016. But in a hacked e-mail, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta discussed McRaven as a possible running mate.
After the interview, President Trump took us into the Oval Office to talk about how he makes those tough decisions that come across his desk every day. That's next.
WALLACE: Next, the president takes us on a tour of the West Wing and describes how he's adjusted to life in the White House after two years in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So have you gotten comfortable with the place yet, sir?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And then reaction to our exclusive interview for with the president from our Sunday panel. All that coming up.
WALLACE: After our interview, President Trump took us across the hall to the Oval Office. In the room where it happens, the president discussed his transition from real estate tycoon to leader of the free world. And he gave some insight into how he makes the tough decisions he faces every day.
WALLACE: So have you gotten comfortable with the place yet, sir? TRUMP: I have. I feel very comfortable. It took me a little while. You know, it's sort of incredible. You say you're the president of the United States. And I say, wow. And it takes a little while to get over that.
WALLACE: I was going to ask you, the first time --
WALLACE: That you're in the Oval Office --
WALLACE: By yourself. Everybody's gone. You're looking around the room.
TRUMP That's right.
WALLACE: The -- the iconic room. The most famous --
TRUMP: Here we are. You know I've had people come into this - the biggest people in the world, presidents, prime ministers, the heads of the biggest companies in the world and they always stop and they say, this is the Oval Office. WALLACE: Yes. TRUMP: This is the Oval Office.
WALLACE: It -- I think --
TRUMP: There's nothing like it in the world. This is the Resolute Desk. Very famous. This is where John John, at the time, right? WALLACE: Right. TRUMP: John Kennedy was right here. That's a little door that opens up.
TRUMP: And that was the famous picture. I could show you that picture. In fact, I'll give it to you.
But this is a very important desk. FDR, John Kennedy, you know we have seven desks and, as president, you can choose any one of the desks. This is, to me, I think the most beautiful in terms of its carving. I also think in many respects it's, you know, just some people that I respect, used this desk. WALLACE: How -- when you're sitting at the desk, how do you make decisions? I mean do you agonize over them? Do you second guess yourself? How does --
TRUMP: I don't think about it. I don't think about, you know, how I make them. I -- I make what I consider the right decision. I have great people working at the White House. They don't get enough credit. I have some tremendously talented people. And I will talk to them. And sometimes I'll have them go at each other. I do like that. You know, let them go at each other. And they do. They've very competitive people. And at the end I make a decision. And it's certainly -- on the economy, a lot of things, we've been - we've made a lot of good decisions and I want to keep it that way. WALLACE: Do -- do you ever second guess yourself? Do you ever --
TRUMP: Yes, all the time.
WALLACE: And do you sometimes change your --
TRUMP: I've -- I've done things where I wished I went a different route but then what you do is you change course and you -- you bring it back. You stabilize it out. But --
WALLACE: Toughest decision you've had to make as president? TRUMP: Well, I think North Korea's been very tough because, you know, we were very close. When I took that over, President Obama, right in those two chairs, we sat and talked and he said that's by far the biggest problem that this country has. And I think we had real decision as to which way to go on North Korea. And certainly at least so far I'm very happy with the way we went. I have a very good relationship with Kim.
WALLACE: Even though there's talk that they're putting up new sites? TRUMP: Yes. Maybe they are. Maybe they're not. I don't believe that. I don't. And, you know, could. And which is - if it -- if that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes. You know, I go with the way we have to go.
But so far it's been good. We have a very good relationship. We made, I think, some great decisions for the -- for the people of this country. And I do, you know, I put America first and other countries should put themselves first. It's not like we're -- we should put- and everybody else should be second to us. No, other countries are proud of their countries and their leaders should put their countries first.
But we were putting out country in many cases last. We were more worried about the world than we were worried about the United States. That's not going to happen with me.
WALLACE: We want to get some reaction now to our interview with President Trump from our Sunday group.
Former Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Jonathan Swan, who covers the White House for Axios, former Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and Gerald Seib from "The Wall Street Journal."
Well, Jonathan, I was struck by a lot that the president said, first, he really seems to be closing the door to any interview with Robert Mueller. He said probably it's finished. And he seemed to be opening the door to possible oversight of Mueller by the new acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker.
JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes. This is the first time I've ever heard him acknowledge on the record what has seemed to all of us to be reality, which is that there was no intention of him sitting down. We'd heard for months that he wanted to. Trump had said publically that he wanted to, but his team really didn't want him to. That's the first time I've ever heard him basically shut the door to that.
And with Whitaker, it's interesting. I don't know that it's credible when he told you that he wasn't aware of the statements that Whitaker had made about Robert Mueller. But it seems that Trump is very happy with him and his job. And I think it was -- it was notable that he sort of left it open that he could, you know, constrain budget or other things. He didn't shut that off.
WALLACE: He said his decision. I'll leave it to him.
Then, Gerry, there was the president's refusal to acknowledge any defeat in the midterms. And when it came to the losses that Republicans did sustain, he absolutely flipped the script from the campaign and the rallies at the end to say, I wasn't on the ballot.
GERALD F. SEIB, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. No, it was -- it was -- the election is about me, the election wasn't about me turn, which is probably what you would expect, but he does seem fairly sensitive about the outcome.
But I thought the fascinating part of that conversation was the fastening part of the midterms, which you tried to draw him out on, is the details. It's not just the number of seats, it's where the -- it's where the defeats happened for Republicans. Happened in suburbs that they really need to win. And in three states, you correctly pointed out, that are crucial to the Trump coalition. So this wasn't just a defeat. It was a defeat in some places that are very sensitive politically.
I will say, though, he's right that we says, held the Senate we've added a couple of seats. That builds a firewall against overturning the tax cuts, against overturning the regulation. In that part, the president's right, that is a significant achievement.
WALLACE: And -- and he also -- he said, I'm not going to say which House is more important, but he made it clear, the appointments I want to make to the bench, to the -- to the cabinet, whatever, I can get through the Senate, I don't have to deal with the House.
SEIB: And, by the way, both the Republican caucus in the Senate and the Republican caucus in the House will be more pro-Trump now than they were before the election. The Trump enemies and critics and moderates are pretty much the ones who washed out.
WALLACE: Corker, Flake, people like that gone.
Congresswoman Edwards, what struck you about the president's reaction to the midterms? And do you see, in what you heard from him, any basis to believe that there's going to be any serious deal-making, compromising, governing with the House Democratic majority?
DONNA EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN (D-MD): Well, I mean, I heard the president acknowledge his mistake on Veterans Day, but he wouldn't acknowledge his mistake when it comes to the elections. I mean we had Bush who described it as a thumping, Obama, a shellacking, and the president, victory is mine. And so, you know, I look at this and say, well, what the president has underscored is the ability of the House of Representatives now to embark on investigations that they want in a measured kind of way, but also possibly doing something on prescription drugs, on infrastructure, on immigration even if the president is willing to negotiate with the House. But I think we'll have to see.
And right now the House of Representatives is, I think, not in a -- in a mood to -- to negotiate, at least the base of the Democratic Party. But we're going to come to a time where that's going to be true.
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, I want to switch to still another subject.
The president had some interesting things to say about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He says he won't even listen to the tape. He's been advised it's too violent. It's a suffering tape, he said. He left open the possibility that the crown prince may have been involved, but he made it really clear that he's not going to do anything to jeopardize relations with Saudi Arabia.
JASON CHAFFETZ, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, the president's in a very difficult spot because there is so much on the line.
I thought it was very interesting what he was saying about Yemen, again focusing back on Iran, that, yes, he wants to get rid of what's going on in Yemen, but they've got to get the Iranians, and you need Saudi Arabia, to triangulate them. I think that was -- that was pretty fascinating.
And I was also fascinated about what he said about -- about Pakistan. I thought that was very newsworthy about the foreign aid. That does not look good for Pakistan, which has nuclear capabilities. And it will be interesting to see where that goes.
WALLACE: And then, Jonathan, there was the president's decision not to go to the cemetery in Paris. I should say, the order he got from the Secret Service on Saturday. And, you know, and he brought that up several times on his own. I wasn't asking him about it. And a rare admission of a mistake by this president in not going to Arlington this last Monday.
SWAN: This is the second time I've seen the president acknowledge a mistake on camera. The only other time I can recall was after "Access Hollywood" when he did what looked to many of us like a hostage video and ultimately sort of, after he apologized, flipped right back and brought the Clinton accusers to the debate. So it is like -- it's unheard of for him to acknowledge a mistake. These are the matters that, though, that really he fixates upon. It's -- it's the optics of the presidency. It's the ceremony of the presidency. It's the visuals of the presidency and the symbolism of the presidency. And this was such an obvious mistake that it's clearly gotten under his skin.
WALLACE: Gerry, you want --
SEIB: Well, no, I was going to say that there was that, but there was also this fascinating biplay (ph) you had with him about tone in which you tried to get him to talk a little bit about why doesn't he moderate his tone, even though he's hinted at it a few times. And he said essentially, this is the way I succeed. This is what I do. And I thought that was fascinating. So he admits a mistake, but he's not really going to change his style. Don't expect that at all. And he said essentially it's -- that's the formula for success for me.
WALLACE: He -- all right, panel, we have to take a break here.
But when we come back, there is some other news. The race for a House speaker. Nancy Pelosi meets with a potential challenger.
Plus, election drama in Florida. Who would have thunk. The Senate race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson goes to a hand recount.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CALIF., HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADER: I say to everybody, come on in, the water's warm.
REP. MARCIA FUDGE, R-OHIO: I don't know about bluffing (ph), but I would say this, if the vote were taken today, she does not have the votes to be the speaker of the House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a potential challenger, Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, engaging in a little trash talk about who will be speaker in the new Democrat-controlled House.
And we're back now with the panel.
Well, Congresswoman Edwards, 17 House Democrats have signed a letter saying that they oppose the election of Nancy Pelosi as speaker and Marcia Fudge, who we just heard there, is one of them.
But you have an article today in "The Washington Post" with this provocative headline, "don't blow it, Democrats. There's only one choice to be the next speaker."
And you say that choice is Nancy Pelosi.
EDWARDS: Well, that's right.
EDWARDS: Well, I mean, coming out of the 2018 election, where you win the most historic victory that Democrats have had since Watergate, led by Nancy Pelosi, staying on message, raising health care as an issue around the country, and Democrats need to come back and get to work on health care, on infrastructure, on immigration, on government accountability. And, instead, they're having a fight about the speaker.
Well, the rest of the country, I think, doesn't really share that, at least among Democrats, and it's time for Democrats to, you know, to get together and I'm convinced that Nancy Pelosi is going to be the next speaker of the House. I think that she's going to come out with an overwhelming majority in the caucus and that that is going to follow her to the floor.
And it should. She's a tactician. She's a strategist. She's held Democrats together. And, you know, look, she raised more than half of the money that Democrats took in to get this House majority.
WALLACE: Gerry, as we say, a number of House candidates, Democrats, campaign pledging. It was an issue in the campaign and certainly it was an issue in campaign ads. They would not support Nancy Pelosi for speaker.
Do you think she's in any real trouble getting elected?
SEIB: She's in some trouble, but not real trouble, I think.
Look, it -- you -- it's hard in politics to beat something with nothing, and there's no viable alternative. Nobody's built the groundwork. Nobody's laid the predicate for -- for over -- no one person has. And I think, in the end, their -- the -- the new members who said they don't -- won't support or can vote against her when the Democrats decide who their choice is, but then can vote for her on the floor because there's no alternative. And that gives them a way out. So, again, if you don't have something, you can't beat something with nothing.
WALLACE: Well, I mean, Marcia Fudge is at least toying with the idea.
SEIB: But not there yet.
WALLACE: And -- and if she were, would she be a serious contender?
SEIB: Again, no groundwork has really been laid for the -- the serious opposition.
SWAN: And -- and here's what we know. I mean when they vote as a caucus, she's going to win. So then she goes to the floor. So then you have a choice. What are they going to do? Are they going to not vote for her? Are they going to, you know, sit silent? Are they going to vote for Kevin McCarthy? I think it's a very -- it will be a very clarifying choice.
WALLACE: Let's turn to the recount, the continuing recount in the Florida Senate race where there are continuing claims of fraud from both sides. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT, R-FLA., U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: He can't stand the fact that he's not going to be elected for, what, the first time in decades and he won't -- he's just here to steal this election.
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.: He's been using his power as governor to try to undermine the voting process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman Chaffetz, there are growing signs as the vote start to come in now from the manual recount that Rick Scott is going to be able to hold onto his lead, which is about 12,500 votes. Is this over? Is he going to take the Senate seat and replace Bill Nelson? And why, not that you're an expert on Florida, but I guess to a certain degree all of us are, why are Florida elections so often a mess?
CHAFFETZ: I don't know. It's embarrassing in Florida. We're having the same problem in Utah where there are still thousands of votes that have not even been counted for the first time. So it -- it -- the margin is so great for -- for -- I think we're looking at Senator Scott because 12,000 votes is insurmountable. Historically, these hand recount maybe sway 100 or 200 votes here and there, but not the 12,000 that would be necessary.
WALLACE: And -- and do you have any insight into why -- why Florida?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I think a Governor Ron DeSantis has a big job and task in front of him that since 2000 you think we would have cleaned this up. I don't understand why all the counties are going their own -- their own direction when somebody in a documented way who's leading elections has the types of problems that she had. She should have been pushed out of office a long time ago. But hopefully --
WALLACE: You know who could have done it was Governor Rick Scott.
WALLACE: And they didn't do it.
CHAFFETZ: I think he's re -- I think there's a lesson for all the governors out there to pay more attention to this going into not only the elections of 2020, but also the census, which is right on our heels as well.
WALLACE: Jonathan, let's look ahead to 2020, because that -- one election's over, so the next election begins. And that's not just a congressional election, that's the presidential election.
It is interesting that the -- the blue wave -- and it's become more of a blue wave as we see the final victories. I mean it's astonishing. I read today that the entire congressional delegation from Orange County in California --
SWAN: Reagan Democrats.
WALLACE: Is going to be Democrats.
WALLACE: Reagan country. Goldwater country. It's all going to be Democrats.
But the blue wave did not hit in -- in Florida, which as we always think of as the key swing state. What does that tell you about 2020 that it looks like they're going to elect, maybe by small margins, a Republican senator and a Republican governor?
Well, it tells you one thing, which is that -- I mean one thing Trump is right about is that he does have an impact in Florida. Ron DeSantis would not be governor without Donald Trump. He wouldn't have got through that primary. And most Republicans consider him a horrible candidate and Trump got him right through.
Trump's numbers aren't terrible in Florida. But where his problems exists is there is now a very clear path for Democrats to take back the White House, which is through the upper Midwest. And you identified those three states. And, yes, Donald Trump wasn't on the ballot, but geez, he didn't even go to those three states for the very reason that his numbers had fallen so much. So, you know, there is this sort of perennial Democratic fantasy about Arizona and Texas, but they don't need to do that. They can just go through the Midwest.
WALLACE: But, you know, we talked about the speaker's race. You've got to beat somebody with somebody. We don't know who the Democratic candidate is going to be. So, yes, there certainly there were warning signs in the suburbs, in the upper rust belt, but it's Donald Trump against the unknown at this point.
SEIB: Well, and who rides the wave? Is it somebody who speaks to those voters in those three industrial states that you spoke of or is it somebody who speaks more to the coastal enclaves where the real strength of the party is? And, by the way, is Texas a swing state? Ohio doesn't look like a swing state anymore. Ohio looks Republican. Florida looks like a swing state. Texas is a great question mark. Nevada looks more blue but Arizona looks like a swing state.
It is going to be a slightly different, if not significantly different, presidential map in 2020 than the one we've been used to seeing the couple years.
WALLACE: I'm glad to see that we actually waited, what, a week and a half until after the 2018 elections to start talking about 2020.
SEIB: You made us do it, Chris.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, we'll be back with a final word.
WALLACE: For more on the Florida recount and the California wildfires, tune to this station and Fox News Channel.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next "Fox News Sunday."
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