Just before jetting off to Davos, President Donald Trump stopped by a sit-down that chief of staff John Kelly was having with reporters -- and immediately started talking.
It was classic Trump who, despite all of his rhetorical emphasis on "fake news," is an avid consumer of the news and relishes the back-and-forth banter with reporters.
Trump, as he does, touched on a wide variety of subjects -- from Kelly to the special counsel investigation to FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. And more!
I scoured the transcript and flagged a handful of the most notable lines from the President. They're below.
1. "How's he doing, OK? I think by the way he's doing great."
Trump wanders into a meeting between his chief of staff and a bunch of reporters. First question: You guys like this guy? So, so Trump-y.
2. "Fake news yesterday, or two days ago. I rarely put out a tweet, praising somebody, but only when they get a false story."
Trump is referring to a Vanity Fair piece published Monday that alleged Kelly and the President were on the outs. Also, Trump "rarely" puts out a tweet "praising somebody." Same, honestly.
3. "I don't even know if he saw that stuff, but I put it out."
If a tweet falls in the forest...
4. "Nice to see you all. The economy is doing very well."
Non sequitur, Donald Trump. President Trump, non sequitur.
5. "I'm going to Davos to get them to bring back a lot of money."
Wait. They give away money at Davos? So that's why people love it so much!
6. "Thank you for some of the nice things you've said over the recent past."
I'm not sure which reporter Trump is referring to but it doesn't matter. The point here is a) he is hyper-aware of media coverage of him and b) his feelings about reporters are entirely tied to whether or not they have written nice things about him of late.
7. "We're going to get the wall, we're going to get great border security."
Well, I'm convinced!
8. "Over a period of 10-12 years, somebody does a great job, they've worked hard, it gives incentive to do a great job."
BIG news here. Trump is saying that Dreamers will have a path to citizenship after "10-12 years." People like Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, seized on this comment as a sign Trump is committed to finding a workable solution on the immigration issue. But, if past is prologue, Trump could well say something totally different within a day or two.
9. "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."
While floating a path to citizenship is obviously a big deal, notice the fuzziness built into Trump's answer. How is the judgment of "do a great job" made? And by whom?
10. "Yeah, I might do that. I might do that."
This is Trump responding to a question on whether he might extend the DACA deadline if Congress can't reach a deal on the program by March. Classic cliffhanger for the reality TV star. Stay tuned for next week's episode!
11. "But chain, where we get the lottery system is a broken system, they put people in a lottery."
I mean, your guess is as good as mine.
12. "They're not putting their finest in that system, you would not be in that system."
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you." -- Donald Trump, June 16, 2015.
13. "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."
Lottery system: Not good. Bad. Got it?
14. "We want to have a good strong family and we're going to treat people very well."
This seems sensible.
15. "When you have a mountain, you don't build a wall, OK?"
I think Socrates first said that.
16. "When you have a river that is un-crossable, that you cannot cross, you don't build a wall, OK?"
"We'd go down to the river/And into the river we'd dive/Oh down to the river we'd ride" -- The Boss
17. "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."
So, here we are. Earlier this week Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, took wall funding off the table as part of a DACA deal. And now Trump says that without wall funding, there is no DACA. This is fine.
18. "I like him! I like him! I grew up with Schumer."
"Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!" -- Donald Trump, Tuesday night
19. "Tell them not to be concerned, OK? Tell them not to worry about it, we're gonna solve the problem."
Relax, Dreamers. Just chill. The Donald's got this.
20. "But we're saving hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars, by building that wall."
Um, is it millions or billions? Because, well, there's a big difference.
21. "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."
This is one sentence. It is 51 words long.
22. "There has been no collusion whatsoever. There's no obstruction whatsoever."
No collusion! No obstruction! No surrender!
23. "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."
This is Trump on talking to special counsel Robert Mueller. My guess is his lawyers were, um, not happy that Trump said this without checking with them.
24. "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."
Trump is referring here to Hillary Clinton's 2016 interview with the FBI during the organization's investigation into her use of a private email server. Clinton was not put under oath and there was no transcript of her interview created, according to then-FBI Director James Comey.
25. "If you didn't know about Hillary, then you're not much of a reporter."
26. "I mean, I am very disturbed, as is the general, as is everybody else that is intelligent."
Trump's response to whether or not he trusts the FBI is stunning. He is the President! This is the FBI!
27. "When you look at five months, this is the late great Rose Mary Woods, right? A step. This is a large scale version."
To be clear what Trump is doing here: He is equating the fact that the FBI is missing texts for a 5-month period from December 2016 to May 2017 with the allegedly accidental erasing of more than 18 minutes of White House recordings -- just days after the Watergate break-in -- by Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods. Also, we learned Wednesday that it's not just texts from two FBI officials who expressed anti-Trump sentiments that were lost. It was the text messages from one in every 10 FBI phones. So...
28. "Well McCabe got more than $500,000 from essentially Hillary Clinton, and is he investigating Hillary Clinton?"
Nope! McCabe's wife, when she was a candidate for state Senate in 2015, got a $467,000 contribution from a super PAC associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Yes, McAuliffe is a longtime friend of the Clintons. But he is not, in fact, Hillary Clinton.
29. "Now Terry is Hillary."
Who wants to tell him?
30. "I don't think so. No. I don't think so."
Trump is responding here to a report in The Washington Post that he asked then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe who he voted for during a meeting shortly after Trump fired Comey. You don't have to be a word sleuth to realize that Trump isn't exactly denying it.
31. "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?"
"How about this weather, huh?"
"Yes, it's beautiful."
"How are the kids?"
"Crazy, like always."
"So, did you vote for me in the election, or no?"
32. "I only repeat, I only repeat for the purposes of making sure you understand."
33. "No collusion. There's no collusion."
None. Zero. Zippy. Nada. Zilch.
34. "There's no collusion."
This is not the same quote. He just said it again. Like 10 words after he said it the last time.
35. "I was one of the greatest candidates."
This feels like a good place to end.
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