From: Thomas Burr
Date: October 16, 2019 at 11:42:07 AM EDT
Subject: Pool report No. 2 - Bilat with news
Scattered news from the 45-minute Oval meeting between POTUS and
Italian President Mattarella. Quick highlights below. (Please check
transcript; it was a crowded room.)
Ahead of his meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional
leaders, Trump said of Pelosi, "She’s done this country a great
disservice," adding it was an "open and shut case" about his
"absolutely perfect" conversation with the Ukranian president. He said
the "exact recording" of the call has been released and showed the
whistleblower was "totally wrong."
Trump said Democrats were going to lose the election. "They’ve treated
the Republican Party with great disrespect."
POTUS said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff was "purely
fraudulent" and Trump said he was awaiting the inspector general
report that he said would be surprising. "I suspect you’ll see things
you’d never believe," and mentioned the names of Comey, Strzok, Page
On a question about John Bolton's claim that Rudy Giuliani was a "hand
grenade," Trump said he "actually got along" with Bolton "pretty well.
It just didn't work out."
Giuliani, Trump said, was just rooting out corruption in the 2016 election.
Asked if Giuliani should register as representing a foreign agent,
Trump demurred. "You have to ask Rudy those questions."
Back on the impeachment inquiry, Trump said that former House Speaker
Paul Ryan "would never issue a subpoena. Nancy Pelosi hands them out
"Fortunately we have a lot of good, smart Republicans," Trump said,
adding, "What the Democrats are doing to this nation is a disgrace."
Trump said he's still focused on what happened in 2016 with Hillary
Clinton's missing emails. "I still ask the FBI where is the server,"
and noted that Republicans would take back the House "based on what's
happening with the impeachment stuff."
On foreign policy: POTUS said there were no American soldiers left in
northern Syria and that the Kurds “were no angels” but that they’ll be
fine because they “know how to fight.”
“They’re no angels. They’re no angels. Go back and take a look,” he
said of the Kurds.
Of the fighting, Trump said, “That’s between Turkey and Syria. It’s
not between Turkey and Syria and the United States.”
VP Pence and SoS Pompeo are headed there soon, POTUS said. (Pompeo was
standing to Trump's left during the bilat.)
“There’s a lot of sand they can play with," Trump said of the region,
"It’s possibly never going to be very stable."
He said it wasn’t America’s war. “They’ve got to work it out,” he noted.
Trump also said America's military is spread far. "We’re in 90
counties all over the world policing," he said, noting it could be
done in a better way that would save lives and money.
POTUS said that a trade deal with China was being "papered" now and
would be better for America.
On China and past trade deals: "We were a piggy bank that everybody
else was robbing.” Trump added that China had been winning in trade
deals previously but would no longer.
“I give China a lot of credit. I give the people who were running our
country no credit.”
Trump said he had no concerns about the 50 U.S. nuclear missiles based
in Turkey. "We're very confident" they're safe, Trump said.
Trump confirmed news that he met with the family of a young man
allegedly killed in the United Kingdom by the spouse of an American
diplomat and that he offered to let them meet the woman who was
driving the vehicle that struck him. POTUS said he met with the family
in the Oval Office and thought they would want to meet the driver. "I
offered to bring the person in question in and they weren't ready for
it," Trump said. The president said that accidents like that happen in
the UK because of the difference on which sides of the road people
drive. "That happens to a lot of people by the way," he said.
Color: POTUS and President Mattarella sat in arm chairs in the Oval
for their bilat meeting with translators behind them. Both presidents
offered kind words to start. Trump said it was a great honor to
welcome Mattarella and called him a “man of great distinction.” After
remarks, Trump asked for questions.
The news conference is open to pre-credentialed press and will be
live-streamed. Next pool opportunity on the schedule is remarks at the
6:30 p.m. reception.
Washington bureau chief | The Salt Lake Tribune
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