READ: President Trump’s full exchange with reporters
President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he would talk to special counsel Robert Mueller under oath and looks forward to the opportunity, but that he will listen to the advice of his lawyers.
Trump made the comments to a group of reporters who were meeting with chief of staff John Kelly at the White House.
It’s also the first time Trump has explicitly said he’d accept a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Here is the full exchange between Trump and reporters.
TRUMP: Hello everybody, how’s he doing, OK? I think by the way he’s doing great. He’s doing great. Fake news yesterday, or two days ago. I rarely put out a tweet praising somebody, but only when they get a false story.
Reporter: Which fake news?
TRUMP: I don’t even know if he saw that stuff, but I put it out. Nice to see you all. The economy is doing very well. I’m going to Davos to get them to bring back a lot of money. We’re gonna invest a lot of money in this country, I made the statement that if we didn’t do the regulation cutting, which I think is actually, maybe more important than the tax cuts, but the regulations, I think you would have had a much different situation, but our people are very happy, especially with their 401(k)s.
Reporter: You’re going to get a lot of questions there about trade and intellectual property, China, and potential terrorism, what are you going to tell them?
TRUMP: Well it’s my business, that’s what I–hello, how are you? Thank you for some of the nice things you’ve said over the recent past.
TRUMP: No you actually have. You actually have. Trade is something that I’ve been talking about for 25 years. And you’re going to be seeing–but you saw what happened with the washers, you saw what happened with the solar panels, and many people liked what we did, our industry was wiped out, we had I think 22, or 30–22 right? Solar companies? We’re down to two and they’re on respirators, they’re on–they’ve got real problems, and all of a sudden they’re coming back. The washing machine companies, they’re gone, Whirlpool, great companies, they’re gone, and now we’re seeing a, you’re seeing a very big increase in prices.
Reporter: Do you think you’re going to get a deal on immigration Mr. President?
TRUMP: I think so. Yeah, I think so.
Reporter: What do you think it’s going to look like?
TRUMP: We’re going to get the wall, we’re going to get great border security. In fact I just wrote something out, and you might talk about it chief if you want, otherwise we’ll do it tomorrow, but I just wrote something out, what we’re looking, we want great border security, we want to do a great job with DACA, I think it’s our issue, I think it’s a better issue for that Republicans than for the Democrats.
Reporter: Do you want citizenship for Dreamers?
TRUMP: We do, we’re going to morph into it it’s going to happen at some point in the future.
Reporter: What does that mean?
TRUMP: Over a period of 10-12 years, somebody does a great job, they’ve worked hard, it gives incentive to do a great job. If they’ve done terrifically, whether they have a little company, or whether they work, whatever they’re doing. If they do a great job, I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of, after a period of years, being able to become a citizen
Reporter: How many years, Mr. President?
TRUMP: We’re looking at 10 or 12.
Reporter: If there’s no agreement by March 5th, are you going to protect them, are you going to extend the deadline?
TRUMP: Yeah, I might do that. I might do that. I’m not guaranteeing it because I want to put a little bit of — but I certainly have the right to do that if I want. Chain migration we’re going to create a good standard so that not everybody, you know not everybody that you ever met can come into the country. But you’ll have wives and husbands and you’ll have sons and daughters, and we’ll talk about parents, parents is a tricky situation because they came here illegally. So you’ll have that. But chain, where we get the lottery system is a broken system, they put people in a lottery. They’re not putting their finest in that system, you would not be in that system. You would not be in that system, they’re putting some very tough–you know the lottery system gave us the killer of the West Side, eight people on the West Side Highway, and ten people that have been very very badly hurt. Nobody mentions the ten people that lost their arms and their legs, and people tend to forget but that, he came through the lottery system and he’s another chain migration person.
Reporter: Lottery system has to end?
TRUMP: Well it has to go in a very strong form, absolutely, and I think even the Democrats know that the lottery system is not good, it’s a bad, it’s a bad system. By the way, great system for other countries, bad system for us.
Reporter: And so for chain migration, family reunification, nuclear families—
TRUMP: We’re gonna take a look at it, I’m not going to say it yet, but we’re going to take a look, but we want to have a good strong family and we’re going to treat people very well and we’re going to solve a problem that’s a very tough problem to solve, and a problem that hasn’t been solved–I mean you people have been reporting about it for many many years. And then after we do DACA, we’ll take a look at the even-bigger immigration problem.
TRUMP: “No, I don’t. In fact I just watched Joe Manchin said, ‘Schumer does not mean that.’ He said it very strong.”
Reporter: “How much do you need for your wall, Mr. President? $20 billion?”
TRUMP: “Well, I’m gonna build it way under budget, but we’re putting down $25 billion for the wall, but we will build it way under–and by the way, just so you understand, and you’ve known this, Chief, ’cause you’ve seen it for a long time, and everyone here–when you have a mountain, you don’t build a wall, OK? And I’ve said that from the beginning. Now I don’t define it every time I make a speech, you know, ‘when you have a mountain, you don’t build a wall’–when you have a river that is un-crossable, that you cannot cross, you don’t build a wall, OK? So, and when you have certain areas that are rough–I’ll be very nice when I say that–but certain areas that are rough, you don’t build a wall.”
TRUMP: “We’re talking about probably 800 miles of wall, we’re also talking about fixing, and we’ve already started that process. We have a lot of wall right now under construction with current funds, where we’re fixing. ‘Cause we have a lot of wall, and a lot of fencing, that’s very good wall, see-through, that’s under construction right now, under re-construction right now. So I think we’re gonna be very successful, but no, Schumer–well, I can tell you this: if you don’t have a wall, you don’t have DACA.
Reporter: “Are you gonna invite Schumer back to the White House on immigration?”
TRUMP: “Sure. I like him! I like him! I grew up with Schumer.”
Reporter: “Should these Dreamers be concerned that they could be deported on March 5 if a deal does not reach [inaudible]
TRUMP: “I–tell them not to be concerned, OK? Tell them not to worry about it, we’re gonna solve the problem.
Reporter: “Clarify one thing, Mr. President–“
TRUMP: “Now, it’s up to the Democrats, but they should not be concerned.”
TRUMP: “We’re gonna put in a fund. $25 billion and a fund. We have $25 billion for a wall, we have $5 billion for other security measures. $25 billion for a wall, $5 billion for other–and just so you–so, if you look at the immigration, various problems of security, those are, they do say it’s about $180 billion, OK. If you build a wall for $20 or $22 billion, and you’re saving $100 billion, that wall, aside from [inaudible] certain very good things out, that wall is a great return on investment. It’s probably the best return on investment you’re gonna make, outside of helping people with their health and medical, because that’s the ultimate return on investment.”
TRUMP: “But we’re saving hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars, by building that wall. So Phyllis George, I like Phyllis George, I’ll tell you, and I like John White Brown a lot, he was a good friend of mine, you know that. Do you know that?
Reporter: “Let me just clarify something with you: you said we’re gonna do DACA and we’re gonna have a larger immigration plan, what did you mean by that specifically?”
TRUMP: “No, no, after DACA is done, we will look at the overall immigration.”
Reporter: “But you still want chain migration, lottery, as part of the DACA…”
TRUMP: “In the initial, we’re putting chain, a negotiated chain, we’re putting a replacement for lottery or an end to lottery, and it could be a replacement, we bring people in from various countries, that come in based on merit and various other reasons, and we are going to build a wall. So those three primary things.”
Reporter: “Are you going to talk to Mueller?”
TRUMP: “I’m looking forward to it, actually. Here’s a start, just so you understand: there has been no collusion whatsoever. There’s no obstruction whatsoever, and I’m looking forward to it. I do worry when I look at all the things you people don’t report about, with what’s happening, if you take a look at, you know, the five months’ worth of missing texts–that’s a lot of missing texts–and as I said yesterday, that’s prime time. So, you [inaudible] look at that and say, ‘what’s going on?’ You do look at certain texts where they talk about insurance policies, or insurance, or they say the kinds of things they’re saying, you’ve gotta be concerned. But I would love to do that, and I’d like to do it as soon as possible. Good luck everybody.”
Reporter: Do you have a date set, Mr. President?
TRUMP: ” I guess they’re talking about two or three weeks, but I would love to do it. You know, again, I have to say, subject to my lawyers and all of that, but I would love to do it.
Reporter: Would you do it on your own, Mr. President?
TRUMP: “You mean like Hillary did it under, who said that? Oh, you say a lot. Did Hillary do it under oath?”
Reporter: I have no idea, but I’m not asking that–
TRUMP: I think you have an idea. Do you not have an idea? Do you REALLY not have an idea? I’ll give you an idea: she didn’t do it under oath. But I would do it under oath. And you know she didn’t do it under oath, right? If you didn’t know about Hillary, then you’re not much of a reporter.
Reporter: To reach a higher standard, you would do it under oath?
TRUMP: Oh I would do it under oath, yeah, absolutely.
Reporter: Do you trust the FBI? Do you trust the FBI?
TRUMP: Well we’re going to see, I mean, I am very disturbed, as is the general, as is everybody else that is intelligent. When you loOK at five months, this is the late great Rosemary Woods, right? A step. This is a large scale version.
Reporter: 18 minutes.
TRUMP: That was 18 minutes, this is five months. They say it’s 50,000 texts, and it’s primetime. That’s disturbing. Say hello to your parents for me. Goodbye everybody!
Reporter Should McCabe go?
TRUMP: Well McCabe got more than $500,000 from essentially Hillary Clinton, and is he investigating Hillary Clinton?
Reporter: So should he go?
TRUMP: Do you remember, did anybody hear many of my speeches where I talked about McCabe? He was the star of my speeches. This isn’t now, and I said a man who was more or less in charge of her–the wife got $500,000 from Terry. Now Terry is Hillary, and I mean–
Reporter: Do you regret having him as your acting FBI Director then?
TRUMP: You know what, I keep out of it, you’d find that hard to believe, that’s the way it fell, he’s been there, it’s been one of those things, but he was the star of many of my speeches, because he got from five to $700,000, whatever the number was, got that many for the wife, and you know in Virginia, in Virginia —
Reporter: Did you ask him who he voted for?
TRUMP: Wait, in Virginia it’s very interesting, you don’t have to spend the money! So I never checked as to whether or not they spent the money on the campaign, how much of the money did he spend on the campaign, do you know? She. How much was, how much was it–wait, how much of the money was spent? Do you know?
Reporter: Did you ask McCabe who he voted for?
TRUMP: I don’t think so. No. I don’t think so.
Reporter: You don’t
TRUMP: I don’t know what’s the big deal with that, because I would ask you who you voted for, who did you vote for? [LAUGHTER] I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I don’t remember that, I saw that this morning, I don’t remember asking him that question.
Reporter: Is it possible you did?
TRUMP: I think it’s also a very unimportant question, but I don’t remember asking him the question. Hey chief, would you do me a favor? When we come back, when we come back, I want you to have a deal. OK? See if you can have a deal. OK.
Reporter: Is it OK, can we use it?
TRUMP: It’s OK you can use it. Make sure it’s nice and–not, you don’t repeat and this and that, just one nice piece.
Reporter: One more question do you believe Robert Mueller–
TRUMP: Because I only repeat, I only repeat for the purposes of making sure you understand.
Reporter: Mr. President, one more quick one do you think Robert Mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation.
TRUMP: We’re gonna find out. We’re gonna find out. Because here’s what we’ll say. No collusion. There’s no collusion. Now they’re saying, “Oh, well did he fight back?” If you fight back–John. You fight back. You fight back, oh it’s obstruction. So here’s the thing, I hope so.
Reporter: So how do you define collusion, and Maggie asked this earlier during the briefing to Sarah Huckabee Sanders?
TRUMP: You’re gonna define it for me, OK? But I can tell you, there’s no collusion. I couldn’t have cared less about Russians having to do with my campaign. The fact is, you people won’t say this but I’ll say it. I was a much better candidate than her. You always say she was a bad candidate, you never say I was a good candidate. I was one of the greatest candidates. Nobody else would’ve beaten the Clinton machine, as crooked as it was. But I was a great candidate. One day you’re going to say that.
Reporter: Thank you Mr. President.