1. “How is the business of the news? We’re keeping you busy?”
2. “What are you going to do in 6½ years with a normal boring person here?”
One thing Trump is absolutely right about is that the political world — elected officials, media etc. — will have a major adjustment to make once he is no longer president, whether that’s after 2020 or 2024. There’s never been a president anything like him and it’s hard to see there being another one that even approximates Trump in the future.
3. “I spoke to the king yesterday, the crown prince, today wanting to know what was going on, what was happening, and he said very strongly that he and his father knew nothing about it but they are starting a major, they’ve already started a major investigation to find out.”
4. “When I spoke to the father, it just sounded to me like he felt like he did not do it.”
OK, so Trump is resting his entire conclusion that the Saudis didn’t murder Khashoggi on his talk with King Salman in which “it just sounded to me like he felt he did not do it.” Sure. OK. This all makes perfect sense.
5. “He did not know about it and it sounded like, you know, the concept of rogue killers.”
Ah yes, the old “concept of rogue killers” argument! Of course! (Sidebar: How did these rogue killers get access into the Saudi Consulate?)
6. “You know, here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
The context here is whether or nor the Saudis are involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance. But let’s remember, too, that Trump has zero problem with “guilty until proven innocent” when it comes to his political opponents. (He said Hillary Clinton should be in jail during the 2016 campaign!) He just doesn’t like the idea of guilty until proven innocent when it deals with people he likes and who like him. Also, not for nothing: The evidence that has seeped out regarding Khashoggi’s disappearance strongly suggests that the Saudi government was, at a minimum, aware of what happened.
7. “We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent all the way.”
Not true. The Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a job interview, not a trial. The only thing decided by Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote was that 50 senators believed the allegations of sexual assault leveled by Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh were not disqualifying for him to be on the nation’s highest court. Guilt or innocence was not part of the equation.
8. “But I will say they were very strong in their denial about themselves knowing.”
9. “Look, I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries, and actually it’s much higher than that because I endorsed a lot of people that were successful that people don’t even talk about.”
10. “No, I think I’m helping people.”
In which Trump rejects that if Republicans lose control of the House or Senate, he will have any blame to bear for it. Despite job approval ratings in the low 40s and disastrously bad numbers among women.
11. “I will say that we have a very big impact. I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact.”
Just Trump saying he has had the biggest political impact of any president ever on a midterm election. (He might be right, but the impact may not be the positive kind.)
12. “And I was getting literally tens of thousands of people, also, more than Hillary in the same location.”
For starters, he’s talking about an election that is almost two years in the rearview mirror now. Second, he is obsessed with crowd size as not just an indicator of popularity but also of him being right (about everything).
13. “We have a witch hunt now going on, and I handle it very well, and there was no collusion. Everyone knows it. It’s … people laugh.”
[Narrator voice] Everyone doesn’t know it.
14. “They have to do whatever they do, and I’ll do whatever I do.”
This is Trump’s take on how he will handle it if Democrats, if they win the majority in November, go after his tax returns. So now we know that he’ll “do whatever I do.”
15. “I would say, without question, first two years of office, I’ve had the most successful two years in the history of this country as a president.”
16. “And, would get me the list? Would you get me the list, please?”
17. “I have the most successful. Nobody has done what I’ve done, and nobody has come close in the first two years of office.”
What question was Trump responding to here, you ask? “Do you think you have the legal team necessary?” That was the question to which Trump responded “I have the most successful.” I mean, what the actual hell.
18. “Here, these are just some. I just put them down rough. But take a look at that. You all set.”
The List of Accomplishments has been found! I repeat: The List of Accomplishments has been found!
19. “Who is the one, who’s the one president that percentage-wise has done better than me? There’s only one. George Washington — 100%. Nobody has gotten that yet.”
I think — emphasis on think — that Trump is talking about how many judges he’s nominated who have been confirmed? Also, 100% is the best you can do. Unless you do 110%.
20. “Oh, absolutely he’s lying. And Michael Cohen was a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work.”
21. “He wasn’t in trouble for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for other people.”
22. “He represented me very little. It’s a very low-level. And what he was is also a public relations person.”
23. “You know what? You can take it any way you want.”
This is Trump’s response to an AP reporter asking whether it is appropriate for the President of the United States to call a woman “horseface” — as Trump did to Daniels on Twitter earlier that day. Let me translate Trump’s response: “Yes, it’s totally and perfectly fine for me to do whatever I want to do at all times.”
24. “I’m just saying, I just speak for myself. You take a look, and you make your own determination.”
This is an important window into how deeply Trump breaks with past presidents. He views the presidency as his personal pulpit. He doesn’t view himself as speaking for the nation — whether to the rest of the country or to the world. Also, his response here on the Daniels’ name-calling is, essentially, “it is is what it is.”
25. “And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth.”
26. “Everything I want and everything I have is clean. Clean is very important — water, air.”
[nods head slowly]
27. “My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”
OH. MY. GOD.
28. “And even people that are not my friends say that was a horrible thing that he did to the president, a horrible thing.”
This is such a revealing answer from Trump about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself in the Russia probe. Sessions did so, he said, because he wanted to avoid even the appearance of any bias or favoritism due to his prominent role as a surrogate for Trump in 2016. Trump doesn’t go for the whole justice-is-blind thing. He’s totally focused on why what Sessions did was unfair to HIM.
29. “He should be ashamed of himself for doing it.”
REMINDER: Jeff Sessions — aka the person who should be ashamed of himself — is the current attorney general!
30. “I could fire him whenever I want to fire him, but I haven’t said that I was going to.”
Have a good day at work today, Jeff!
31. “I just haven’t said I was going to fire him. We’ll see what happens. But if you ask me: Am I thrilled? No, I am not thrilled.”
It’s not that Trump isn’t going to fire Sessions. It’s just that he hasn’t said he is going to fire him. Yet!
32. “My son’s a good young guy.”
Well, I’m convinced! [re-hangs portrait of Donald Trump Jr. over mantel]
33. “There was nothing wrong with having an opposition research meeting and nothing happened from the meeting.”
True-ish. But remember that this June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was with Russians that was set up with the understanding that the dirt they had on Hillary Clinton was coming from the high levels of the Russian government. Which makes the decision to take the meeting a lot more dicey than Trump is suggesting here.
34. “To think that I would be even thinking about using Russia to help me win Idaho. We’re using Russia to help me win the great state of Iowa or anywhere else is the most preposterous, embarrassing thing.”
No one is saying that. Not Robert Mueller. Not anyone. The special counsel probe is looking into Russia’s attempted interference in the election to help Trump and hurt Clinton. And the possibility that members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to further that goal. This is a total straw-man argument by Trump.
35. “The word is ‘sow,’ an old English term.”
36. “This was an excuse made by the Democrats for the reason they lost the Electoral College, which gives them a big advantage — a big advantage. Very different than the popular vote. The popular vote would be much easier to win if you were campaigning on it.”
The question asked of Trump that elicited this answer — and, no, I am not kidding, was: “Would you prefer to have an in-person interview [with Mueller] or do it this way?”
37. “I covered it so nicely on ’60 Minutes,′ but they only put on pieces of it, and they were fine but you know they cut, cut, cut because I guess they have so much time.”
“60 Minutes” has said they cut any Trump answer or comment that they couldn’t independently verify. So, yes, “cut cut cut” is an accurate description.
38. “I think we’ve done an incredible job with children.”
Trump’s answer on whether he had any regrets on his border separation policy. He, uh, doesn’t.
39. “Nobody has been better at the military.”
40. “I see no talent.”
Donald Trump assesses the 2020 Democratic field. This feels like the right place to end.