Photo of Donald Trump

Interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News

June 25, 2019

HANNITY: Mr. President, I'm just going to open it up to you to go wherever you want with this. This has been something you've had to deal with your entire presidency almost. You were loud in saying it was not true, it was a witch hunt, and we had four separate investigations backing up your claim and culminating in what you saw yesterday, sir, your reaction to all that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think people learned a lot yesterday watching a very poor performance and watching things that they couldn't believe when they saw what was going on. And hopefully we're going to be able to find out how a thing like this started. It was a disgrace to our country. It was a disgrace from every standpoint, and I would say that most people have never seen anything like it. Then, on top of it, you watched that performance, it was shocking and very sad.

HANNITY: How much of that did you watch, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Say it, Sean?

HANNITY: How much of the Mueller testimony did you actually watch?

THE PRESIDENT: So, I wasn't going to watch at all, and then I started thinking about it, and then I watched a little bit at the very beginning and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I ended up watching more than I wanted to. Then I watched the afternoon, because it was such a big crater at the beginning and I said, "Now I have to watch Shifty Schiff," because he just went through three hours and now he has to go through Schiff and I said, "This is going to be very interesting." I've never seen anything like it, actually. It was sort of good television. I couldn't watch it all. I had meetings, I had economic development meetings that I was saying "Fellas, maybe we could move it to another time," but I didn't want to do that.

I got to watch enough and it was shocking. I thought the Republicans represented themselves brilliantly, actually. John Ratcliffe and Jim Jordan and all of them, Louie Gohmert. I could mention 15 names or however many they have that spoke. It got fairly close to that number. I guess maybe it was a little bit less than that, but I will tell you that everybody representing the Republicans I thought was really good and I thought the other side was typically biased, but they were stuck with a situation that they couldn't believe.

HANNITY: Mr President, I just mentioned the New York Times not long ago actually said that they believed that the dossier which, I was stunned Muller didn't know about Fusion GPS. The things he didn't know, shocked me, didn't know Jeannie Rhee Clinton's attorney worked for them. But we'll put that aside. But they suggested at the New York Times that the dirty dossier that Hillary paid for that was used to spy on your campaign, your transition and even your presidency, sir, was likely Russian disinformation from the beginning.

Now, if that's the case, that would mean that the Russians knew that Hillary was paying for those lies, which would mean that the narrative that the American people have been fed by the media and the Democrats that well, they were trying to help you, the Russians. That would mean if the New York Times is right for once, and I suspect they may very well be, that they were trying to hurt you more than Hillary.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, based on the fact that we've just become fairly recently, a little while ago, the number one oil and gas producer and energy producer in the world by far, Russia, Saudi Arabia, now second and third. Based on the fact that we will soon have the most modern military we have ever had with the best equipment, the best newest planes, and all of the things that we've done and so many other things. Sean. Based on all of that, the last person they should want is me.

But I have heard the same thing about the fake dossier. I've heard it came out of Russia. I think a lot of it also was made up. It was just made up out of like you'd write a novel, but it was a fake, and it was paid for by the Democrats and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC. And it's incredible. These are incredible stories. Nobody would write a novel like this cause people wouldn't believe it. It wouldn't be believable.

HANNITY: You know Mr President, I've famously have asked Lindsay Graham… when Attorney General Barr was before his committee, he went through a list of things. Do you feel that Mueller did a good job? Did he have the resources? Do you believe that his team had every opportunity? You turned over one and a half million documents? I can't believe you encouraged everybody to testify before Congress, before the special council. I was shocked McGahn did. But we'll put that aside here.

And you keep saying that you think we can't let this happen again. We've learned from the Attorney General that he's going to look into whether the investigation into Hillary's server was rigged. He's going to look into potential FISA abuse. He's going to look into the origins of this probe. We know that dorm has now interviewed Steele for nearly 16 hours. We know the IG is very close to a FISA report. Why is it important to get to the bottom of this from your perspective?

THE PRESIDENT: Because this should never happen to another president of the United States again. This is a absolute catastrophe for our county. This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again. This was treason. This was high crimes. This was everything as bad a definition as you want to come up with, this should never be allowed to happen to our country again.

HANNITY: You often said fake news. I called them out often on this program. Turns out there's been, I give a list starting with Richard Jewell and Ferguson, Missouri and Cambridge Police and and Baltimore, Maryland and UVA and Duke Lacrosse and Nicholas Sandmann, but they went with every single lie, every conspiracy theory. I don't see the media very often talking about the things you have accomplished. I mentioned the employment situation is the best since 1969. What do you say to the press in this country? The press that is supposed to be fair, balanced, objective down the middle. I'm a talk show host, I'm like the whole newspaper. We do everything.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the press has lost all credibility, much of it, but it's lost a big part of it, though. I mean, a very substantial part of it, lost all credibility. I watch it as people scream at these poor Democrats, the Congressmen scream like I've never seen. "You must do this. You must do that." These are supposed to be journalists, show hosts, all sorts of people. I cannot believe it.

And they're actually trying to force them to do what they want to be done. I've never seen anything like it. They use the word unhinged. They are unhinged. The media has become totally unhinged. They're very dishonest. And when I say enemy of the people, when people give purposely false stories and when they try and get politicians to do things that are wrong and they know they're wrong, that really is the enemy of the people. It's fake news, but it's the enemy of the people, more importantly.

HANNITY: In other words that if you're claiming to be fair, balanced, objective and down the middle and you purposely lie and you don't have any interest in the truth, you make a distinction between the two, and I've heard you say that many times. I'm interested in this question because you were very critical of Mueller. The whole issue of whether or not you had told your counsel to fire him. You had the authority, according to Alan Dershowitz, many constitutional attorneys I've interviewed Under Article II for conflicts of interest. You could have fired Mueller yourself. But my question is now that you saw how little he actually knew, do you have a different opinion of him? Did you at any point almost feel sorry for him during this?

THE PRESIDENT: So I had the absolute right to fire him, but I didn't. And I never suggested to do it, but I had the absolute right to fire him under Article II and perhaps for other reasons, but I didn't do it. I didn't do any of the… When they say he said he was going to do this or said he was going to do, I didn't do any of it. It's really incredible when I hear this and the whole concept of obstruction. First of all, they create a phony crime, which was just a terrible thing to say about somebody, especially somebody that loves the country as much as I do. So they create this phony crime and then they say he obstructed. They said there was no collusion but he obstructed. There has never been anything like this ever before in our country.

The crime was committed on the other side, and we'll find out about that. We have a great attorney general who's looking at it. I'm not involved in that. He's looking at it.I've been hearing a lot of the media actually is talking about investigate the investigators and a lot more than that.

And I think that things are… I just see it. I feel it. I think a lot of good is going to come out of it. We went through hell. A lot of people went through hell. They came down to Washington wanting to do a phenomenal job for the people and they get served with papers to come and testify and go before grand jurors. And by the way, nothing affected the… Because all of these things like the Russian bloggers, they had nothing to do with us and everybody knew it. In fact, there is a little sentence in there saying that it had nothing to do with the Trump Administration.

But it was a lot of people, 24 people or something. A lot of bloggers, bloggers in Russia, they'll never see these people. They know that. They sent out papers to these people. They'll never ever see them. The people probably never even got the papers. But all of these people, none of them had… They went through people with old tax cases, old cases, cases that were not even going forward, just went after them viciously and violently.

General Flynn, who's a good man, what they did to General Flynn and so many others. Hope Hicks, this wonderful young woman. And she spent much of her time in Washington fighting off horrible stories and things. She's just a high quality person. So many, I could name almost everybody, what they went through, and still to this day, I mean I heard people saying that… I heard some of the media saying that they thought Mueller performed okay. In other words, they let a day go by and then they'll try and spin it. These are very dishonest people. These are very bad people.

HANNITY: Mr President, the power of the pardon, I actually think the best pardon you gave is to Alice Marie Johnson. I think you commuted her sentence to be more accurate, is absolute. Have you at any point ever considered in the back of your mind a pardon for any of the people you mentioned or you would wait? I think you had said at one point you wouldn't consider it until after it all worked through.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't want to comment on that as far as the pardons are concerned. Yes, it is absolute and it's a beautiful thing. I've had people, Jack Johnson, the heavyweight champion of the world in the early 1900s and he went to jail for no reason, and so many other things. And Alice Johnson's another good example, and I really feel good about giving it where people have been treated unfairly and abused actually.

To what's going on now. I mean it's in a way I think there's a whole new day starting. I used to use and I still use drain the swamp. We have some very, very bad people in government that would be willing to do very bad things and for bad reasons. So I don't mention pardon, but I don't say what's going to happen in the future. I just don't comment on it.

HANNITY: Mr. President, on last question on this and I want to switch to 2020 if I may. Comey, McCabe.Comey signed the first FISA warrant which opened the door apparently according to Nunes and the Grassley-Graham memo, the bulk of information was Hillary's bout and paid for dirty Russian dossier, and we found out from John Solomon last week that they had a spreadsheet. Even the FBI in early 2017 said 90 some odd percent of this thing was false, garbage, not true.

Comey though signed it. That allowed a backdoor through Carter Page to spy on your campaign, later transition and then presidency. But McCabe, Strozk, Page, Brennan, Clapper may be sourcing out what would be illegal intelligence gathering. We know the attorney general is there. Is there any of these names… What do you think of these people? Because James Comey signed the first FISA application in October, 2016, went to Trump Tower in January of 2017 and told you it's unverified. Months earlier he swore on that application, the FISA application that it's verified. So he lied. What are your thoughts about these people today?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Comey is a liar and a leaker, and that's obvious and all you have to do is just follow him along and see what he said to Congress. Clapper and Brennan and all of these people, McCabe, these are bad people. My opinion, they are very bad people. They've been very bad for the country. They were, I used to think incompetent, but they're really I guess competent at other things and maybe bad things. But you we'll see what happens. I mean I guess a lot of things are coming out and it's going to be very interesting and it will be great to clean up a real big mess, because again, it can never happen. This can never be allowed to happen again, Sean.

HANNITY: Mr President, you have the power to literally release the FISA applications and the 302s and the Gang of Eight information, and you made a decision to hand it over to the Attorney General and let him decide. And I'm curious as to why.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we have a very respected gentleman, a very high quality person named William Barr. I can tell you, he's working so hard. Rather than just doing a total release, I gave him a total release. In other words, he's got everything. Anything he needs, he's got. He's the Attorney General of the United States. He's got a lot of very good people under him that I guess are involved and I gave them a total release.

So all of it's been released and he has all of it. I've also given him authorization to release it to whoever he wants, whether it's his people or frankly perhaps people like Devin Nunes who is a star, what he's done and the amount of suffering he's gone through. You know what they did with him, where they tried to drive him right out of politics and probably worse than that. He's done an incredible job.

And so many others. They're warriors. I'll tell you the good side of all of this is the level of intelligence and strength and goodness that we've had on the Republican Party. A lot of them, not everybody of course, but we've had tremendous, and when I say we, I'm talking about the country. The country's had tremendous support from Meadows and Jordan and Devin Nunes. And so many of the names that you saw yesterday performed so well. I mean, they performed so well and they worked so hard because they saw this was a scam. This was an illegal takeover, as you'd say in the business world. I mean, this was a coup attempt in my opinion.

This is the United States and we wouldn't stand for it and I wouldn't stand for it. We have some very great people, but we also have some very bad people. And I think we caught then.

HANNITY: I believe sir, we of the premier law enforcement agency in the world, our FBI. We have the premier intelligence people in the world, but that's 99%. but the 1% of the top of the ones we're talking about abusing power.

All right, so how closely are you paying attention to the 2020 Democrats that by the way, seen most influenced by the squad and all of them having even adopted some version of the insane new green deal that would get rid of the lifeblood of our economy, oil, gas, and planes and cows and the combustion engine.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's very interesting because I haven't seen it at all for the last four or five days. They're not talking about the Democrats. They're talking about Mueller and how bad he performed, how badly he performed. And they're talking about everything that happened over the last few days, but in particular yesterday. You're not seeing much about the Democrats. But look, you've got a few of them that are doing a little bit better than others. It'll be interesting. Whoever it is, I'm okay with it.

We have the best economy we've ever had. As you know, we have the best stock market numbers we've ever had in the history of our country. If you look at 401Ks, if you look at the kind of money that people are making. I'm not talking about rich people or just rich people. I'm talking about everybody. Blue collar workers went up proportionately more than anybody. You saw that poll that just came out. Things are doing great. The best unemployment numbers, the best employment numbers. I'll tell you what, more people working in the United States today than at any time in the history of our country.

And then we have the lowest unemployment numbers, especially for African-Americans, for Hispanics, for Asians. Women are almost 70 years the best numbers, and soon to be historic meaning forever., meaning from the beginning. I think we'll be in great shape. Then you have the AOC. I call it AOC plus three. The three hangers.

I really believe they're going to hurt the Democrats. But who knows? I mean, we'll see. But I think we're going to do very well, Sean. I think we're going to do very well. We have tremendous spirit. You've never seen an empty seat. We go into these massive arenas and they're packed and there's thousands of people outside. You've never seen an empty seat. So I think we're going to do very well.

HANNITY: All right, three quick questions and I'm going to let you go because you've been very generous with your time. Who do you think wins, and will you tell us, and is there one of the group of Democratic hopefuls that you hope wins because you know you can beat them easily?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I could say that obviously the top three or four look like they had doing better than the rest. So Sleepy Joe is okay, but he's fading. I think he's fading fast. The only good thing about Mueller is it made Joe Biden look like a dynamo. When you watched Mueller's performance yesterday. I think probably Biden is the one that asked him to go on.

You have him and he's sort of a little bit leading and then you have a whole group. You Have Elizabeth Warren formerly known as Pocahontas, and I'm sure that'll come out because that's a tough thing for her to withstand, I believe, because her whole life was a fake. She used that very, very adeptly and it was not good. And you have Harris and Bernie looks like he's fading to me. Bernie looks like he missed his time. I think what Hillary did a few years ago was pretty tough frankly for Bernie. But that was his time. I don't think it's Bernie's time. I see him flailing. He's flailing all over the place. He's going crazy. I call him Crazy Bernie. But the fact is that I think those would be probably the three or four. Maybe there's another one or two. I don't necessarily see anybody else gaining traction.

HANNITY: Mr. President, last two questions. First one is on both Iran and North Korea have recently fired test missiles. Here's my question for you. I've known you for nearly 25 years. I know your mindset on this very well. I said it on the air in a message to the mullahs that they better be careful. You will not put boots on the ground. You probably are going to show some level of patience, but at the end of the day, if they force you, I believe, knowing you, my belief is you will devastate them.

And North Korea, you've given them nothing. People criticize. I said certain things I believe about Donald Trump. One, you will put no boots on the ground. You will never try and bribe a dictator like Clinton did with North Korea and like Biden, Obama did with the mullahs. And I do believe that if pushed the military might you would unleash will be mighty and it won't require boots on the ground. Am I right?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think that in the case of Iran, they know that better than even you do and probably even stronger than you said it. I think they understand that very well. And in the case of North Korea, I'm actually getting along very well with him, but we'll see what happens. I mean, the sanctions are on, the hostages are back. We're getting the remains back. They haven't done nuclear testing. They really haven't tested missiles other than smaller ones, which is something that lots tests. But I think with North Korea we've been doing very well, but that doesn't mean it's going to continue. We have a relationship. President Obama had no relationship. You would have been at war. Had Hillary Clinton won this election, you'd be at war right now with North Korea. I have no doubt about that. That's where it was heading. It was heading there very rapidly.

We'll see what happens. But I think what you said might be somewhat of an understatement.

HANNITY: Last question, Mr. President and I have said many times on this program, all you've given Kim Jong-un is your time, and got remains back, we got hostages back and missiles stopped up until fairly recently, and you just gave time. Let me ask, maybe it's because it's New York and I know a city that you obviously love a lot and you've seen in, and you've watched with us these police officers being pounded with water and not reacting, and to me, if this continues, that is a disastrous situation for the people in New York City.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it's a bad mayor. Probably the worst mayor in the history of New York City. He's done a bad job and now he's running for president, and people can't even believe it. He's a horrible mayor. The policemen and women cannot stand him. They don't respect him. They don't like him. Remember they turned their back on him a couple of years ago when he got up to speak. Everybody turned their back and they kept it that way and still they want to do it, but they still have respect for the office if not him.

But I feel like that was tragic watching that scene a couple of days ago when I first saw it, I couldn't believe it. I said, "Let me see that again. I don't believe what I'm seeing," I know New York's finest and New York's finest, in fact, we were in touch with them today. They are devastated that frankly, that that could happen, and also that those two offices would allow that to happen. That was a terrible thing.

HANNITY: Well, every single one that we have on video, I'd like to see arrested. Mr. President, I won't take any more of your time. Thank you so much for being with us as always. We really appreciate it, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Sean. Thank you very much. Thank you.

Donald J. Trump, Interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives