In an impromptu interview with the ‘failing’ New York Times, as he likes to call it, President Trump spoke about the Russia probe, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, China being caught illegally delivering oil to North Korea, and more.
Speaking to a reporter at his golf club in West Palm Beach Thursday, Trump said he’d “been soft” on China regarding trade to hopefully encourage the country to rein in North Korea’s weapons program. That may change, however, after U.S. spy satellites captured images of China illegally oil to North Korea.
“Oil is going into North Korea. That wasn’t my deal!” Trump said. “If they’re helping me with North Korea, I can look at trade a little bit differently, at least for a period of time. And that’s what I’ve been doing. But when oil is going in, I’m not happy about that.”
The president added: “We have a nuclear menace out there, which is no good for China.”
Trump’s comments come after he slammed the country earlier in the day over Twitter:
“Caught RED HANDED – very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!”
Caught RED HANDED - very disappointed that China is allowing oil to go into North Korea. There will never be a friendly solution to the North Korea problem if this continues to happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2017
In the 30-minute interview Trump also spoke about the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
He said he believes that special counsel Robert Mueller will ultimately treat him fairly, repeatedly insisting there is no collusion.
“There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair,” he said of Mueller.
He said the whole investigation “makes the country look very bad … so the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”
He also seemed to express his disappointment that Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, saying it was “too bad.” And while he avoided a direct response to whether he thought Eric Holder, President Obama’s first attorney general, was more loyal, he did say he respected that quality about him.
“I don’t want to get into loyalty, but I will tell you that, I will say this: Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him,” he told the paper, adding: “When you look at the things that they did, and Holder protected the president. And I have great respect for that, I’ll be honest.”
Trump was also confident he'd win another term, telling the paper the media depend on him for their ratings.
“Another reason that I’m going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I’m not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes,” he said. “Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times.”