In an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump called the talks on the US-Mexico border wall a “waste of time”.
Mr Trump indicated he would most likely take action on his own as he sought $5.7 billion (£4.4bn) for a wall on the southern border. But the Democrats argued that it was immoral and ineffective and denied the budget.
“I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished,” he said, implying a declaration of a national emergency to ensure the construction of the barrier.
“I’ve set the table,” Mr Trump said. “I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.”
With emergency presidential power, Mr Trump could bypass Congress and access the money and resources needed to complete the project. But the situation at the border, according to critics, does not constitute a true emergency and invoking one would be an abuse of power.
The division in Congress led to a 35-day government shutdown, the longest in US history. Federal operations would resume on 15 February if no budget was agreed.
Due to the funding issue, Mr Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her announcement that there would be no money for a wall in planned border security legislation.
The President added, “I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will anymore. I think she’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country.”
“If she doesn’t approve a wall, the rest of it’s just a waste of money and time and energy because it’s desperately needed.”
These other topics were also tackled in the interview:
- Russian inquiry
The president said he had received assurances from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the Mueller investigation. This probe has consumed so much of his presidency.
“He (Rosenstein) told the attorneys that I’m not a subject, I’m not a target,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr Rosenstein was taking charge of the Mueller’s investigation until last November when the president transferred the control to acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker.
Both Mr Rosenstein and Mr Mueller have issued a statement on whether Mr Trump is a target in the investigation.
The Mueller’s investigation is still ongoing. There is still no submission of findings to the attorney general.
The President also insisted he “never did” speak to his long-time associate Roger Stone about WikiLeaks and the stolen Democratic emails it posted during the 2016 election. He also denied that he directed anyone to do such a thing.
When asked if did he ever instruct anyone to get in touch with Mr. Stone about WikiLeaks? “Never did,” the president claimed.
Mr Stone has been charged with seven counts in the Mueller inquiry related to the emails but has denied the charges.
- Trump’s Moscow project
The President dismissed the issue of Trump Tower project his team was seeking to build in Moscow at the height of the 2016 campaign.
He argued that his lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s statement was wrong. Guiliani said that talks over the project had continued until the latter part of the presidential campaign.
Interestingly, Michael Cohen, Mr Trump’s former lawyer has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress at least three times about the project. This included telling Congress that the project was dissolved in January 2016.
In fact, negotiations continued through June 2016, when Mr Trump was already the Republican presidential nominee.
According to Mr Trump, his last conversation about the project had been in “early to middle” 2016. “Cohen might have been involved with the project “a little bit longer than that,” he stated.
“I was running for president; I was doing really well. The last thing I cared about was building a building,” he added.
- His political future
Being the President and one of the top leaders of the world, Mr. Trump firmly said, “I love this job.” Though he dismissed speculations for re-election in 2020.
With regards to accusations that he was making money from the presidency, he said, “I lost massive amounts of money doing this job.” He called the presidency job, a “loser” financially.
“This is not the money. This is one of the great losers of all time. You know, fortunately, I don’t need money. This is one of the great losers of all time. But they’ll say that somebody from some country stayed at a hotel. And I’ll say, ‘Yeah.’ But I lose, I mean, the numbers are incredible.”
With the Democrats who were against his way especially on the “immorality” of his border wall, Mr Trump said the opposition party has “really drifted far left.”
Speaking of the next year election, the president did not fail to talk about Democratic candidates.
He expressed admiration for the Senator Kamala’s campaign kickoff attended by thousands of supporters.
“I would say the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. I would say in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her,” the US president said.
“A better crowd — better crowd, better enthusiasm.”
“Some of the others were very flat,” he added, in reference to another possible candidate, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“I do think Elizabeth Warren’s been hurt very badly with the Pocahontas trap,” he stressed, alluding to senator’s effort to prove she has Native American heritage.
Last year, Mr Trump described her as a “fake Pocahontas” and challenged her to take a DNA test.
The results “strongly” supported a Native American ancestor but the subsequent DNA report concluded that “the vast majority” of Ms Warren’s ancestry was European.
“I think she’s been hurt badly. I may be wrong, but I think that was a big part of her credibility, and now all of a sudden it’s gone.”
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