Politics

Top moments from Trump's wild and wide-ranging White House lawn interview

Key Points
  • President Trump touched on a wide variety of topics during an impromptu interview Friday on the White House North Lawn.
  • The president joked that he wanted Americans to treat him with the same deference that North Koreans show to Kim Jong Un, the authoritarian leader of North Korea.
  • Asked about his zero tolerance immigration policy, the president said: "I hate the children being taken away."
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President Trump gives off-the-cuff news conference on White House lawn

President Donald Trump gave an impromptu interview to "Fox and Friends" on Friday, followed by an extended talk with a group of reporters. He addressed a slew of hot topics including a potential meeting with Russia ("we may") to the controversy surrounding his administration's immigration policy ("I hate the children being taken away").

Below are some of the most important moments.

On meeting with Putin

Trump told reporters that he "may" meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We may, and it started because a reporter shouted out to me, should Putin be in the G7? And I said, no he should be in the G8," Trump told reporters.

His comments follow a report that Trump was planning a summit with Putin next month ahead of the annual NATO meeting in Belgium slated for July.

Before the recent G-7 meeting of economic powers in Canada, Trump said Russia should be included in the talks. Moscow was booted from the G-8 following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

On immigration: 'I hate the children being taken away'

The Trump administration has come under fire for its new "zero tolerance" policy on immigration, which seeks to criminally prosecute all adults illegally crossing the border and has led to children being separated from their parents.

"I hate the children being taken away," Trump told reporters on Friday. " That's the Democrat's law. We can change it tonight. We can change it right now."

There is no law that requires migrant families to be separated. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has repeatedly defended the administration policy.

On the inspector general report on the Clinton email probe

Trump claimed that the inspector general report released Thursday "totally exonerates me." But the president said he disagreed with the report's finding that the FBI was correct not to prosecute Clinton.

"[The inspector general] goes point after point about how guilty Hillary is, but then he said, 'but we're not going to do anything about it.' The report, the IG report was a horror show," he said.

The president also contended that Comey's actions were "criminal."

"What he did was criminal," the president said. "What he did was a terrible thing to the people. What he did was so bad in terms of our Constitution, in terms of the well being of our country. What he did was horrible. Should he be locked up? Let somebody make a determination."

The president said that Comey will go down "as the worst FBI director in history, by far, there's nobody close."

On wanting Americans to 'sit up and pay attention'

The president joked that he wanted Americans to treat him with the same deference that North Koreans show to Kim Jong Un, the authoritarian leader of North Korea.

"He's the head of the country, and I mean he's the strong head," Trump said. "Don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

Trump later said he was "kidding" and questioned whether reporters understood sarcasm.

The president also talked up his personal relationship with Kim.

"I got along with him very well, we have good chemistry," Trump said. The president said he couldn't speak to Kim's human rights record.

On speaking with the special counsel

Trump said he would like to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller "but it seems to be very biased."

The president downplayed the guilty pleas reached so far in the Russia probe Mueller oversees. It is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

"They're getting people who say something that is a little bit off. 'Is it a nice day?' 'Well, you know, no it's not a great day.' Oops he lied," Trump said.

A number of the president's associates have pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI, including his former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his communications with Russian officials.