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Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters

April 27, 2018

President Trump. Thank you very much. It's a great honor to have Chancellor Merkel. And I will say that you can rest assured she was going to win that election. And congratulations on winning. And by the way, a formal congratulations.

[At this point, Chancellor Merkel spoke in English.]

Chancellor Merkel. Thank you.

President Trump. That was a great victory. We're working on a lot of different subjects, including trade, including NATO, including military of all types. And we have a really great relationship. And we actually have had a great relationship right from the beginning, but some people didn't understand that. But we understand it, and that's what's important. But a very extraordinary woman. And it's an honor to have you at the White House. Thank you very much, Angela.

[Chancellor Merkel spoke in German, and her remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows.]

Chancellor Merkel. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for this very warm reception and also for the words of congratulation. You know, we took some time to build the Government, that is certainly true, but I thought it was very important on this first visit outside of Europe to come to the United States, to come to Washington, in order to, yet again, underline that we wish to deepen our relationship further.

And I hope and trust, and I'm very much looking forward to the very good talks that I trust we will have today.

President Trump. Good. Well, thank you very much.

[Chancellor Merkel spoke in English.]

Chancellor Merkel. Thank you.

President Trump. I appreciate it.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Report on Russia's Interference in 2016 Presidential Election/North Korea

Q. Mr. President, the House Intel report, do you have something—anything to say about that?

President Trump. Yes, we were honored. It was a great report. No collusion—which I knew anyway—no coordination, no nothing. It's a witch hunt; that's all it is. There was no collusion with Russia, if you can believe this one. There was a—she probably can't believe it. Who can? But the report was very powerful, very strong. There was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian people.

As I've said many times before, I've always said there was no collusion, but I've also said there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me. With that all being said, if we can get along with Russia, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. But there has been nobody tougher on Russia than me.

I was very honored by the report. It was totally conclusive, strong, powerful. Many things said that nobody knew about and said in a very strong way. They were very forceful in saying that the Clinton campaign actually did contribute to Russia. So maybe somebody ought to look at that. But what we really should do is get on with our lives and get on with a lot of things.

We have a lot of great things happening, including, potentially with North Korea, Angela, as you see. A lot of very positive things happened over the last 24 hours. We're in total touch with both North Korea and South Korea. We'll be setting up a meeting very shortly. We have it broken down to probably two sites now—two or three sites, locations. And hopefully, we're going to have great success. We'll see what happens. But hopefully, we're going to have great success.

So President Moon and I are speaking, and we're speaking very much with South Korea and with North Korea. The relationships are building and building strongly. And this will be a great thing for the world. This will be a great thing for Germany. But this will be a great thing for the world.

Angela and I have discussed this over the period of the last 15 months quite a bit—North Korea—the North Korean problem. And I think you're seeing that a lot of very positive things are happening.

Iran

Q. Do you expect to come to any agreement on Iran today, Mr. President?

President Trump. I don't know. I think we'll be talking about Iran, probably. But I don't necessarily expect it one way or the other. I know we're going to have a very good discussion on Iran, as I did with Emmanuel, was—just left—the President of France. So we'll be having discussions on Iran. We'll be having discussions on trade. We'll be having various discussions.

North Korea

Q. What will you do, Mr. President, to ensure that Kim isn't just trying to play the U.S. like the Kims have for successive generations?

President Trump. Oh, I don't think he's playing. No, I don't think he's playing. And you know, it's never gone like this. It's never gone this far. I don't think it's ever had this enthusiasm for somebody—for them wanting to make a deal.

And yes, I agree the United States has been played beautifully, like a fiddle, because you had a different kind of a leader. We're not going to be played, okay? We're going to hopefully make a deal. If we don't, that's fine. The United States, in the past, was played like a fiddle. Money going in, and nobody knew what was happening. The day after an arrangement was made—if you call it deal, I doubt it—but an arrangement was made, they start with the nuclear weapons again. That's not happening to us.

We will, I think, come up with a solution. And if we don't, we leave the room with great respect. We leave the room, and we just keep it going.

I also will tell you that President Xi of China has been very helpful at the border, and I want to acknowledge that. I think it's very important to acknowledge. But President Xi has been extremely helpful to me. We have a very good relationship. He's been extremely helpful to me at the border.

So we'll see where it all goes. But no, this isn't like past administrations. We don't play games.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Department of Justice

Q. Mr. President, you said you weren't interested in dealing with the DOJ right now——

President Trump. What? I don't hear——

Q. You said earlier this week that you weren't interested in intervening with the DOJ, but that that might change at some point——

President Trump. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:54 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton; President Moon Jae-in of South Korea; President Emmanuel Macron of France; Chairman of the Korean Worker's Party Kim Jong Un of North Korea. A portion of these remarks could not be verified because the audio was incomplete.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/332539

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