When Americans votes in next month's midterm elections. it's like President Trump and his agenda will be motivating them as much as any candidate or local issue on the ballot. Almost two years ago, when we last interviewed then-President-Elect Trump, he seemed surprised that he won, not that he'd ever admit that to us. Well, when we sat down with him this past Thursday in the White House, we found him confident and boastful as he told us he has learned on the job. He was eager to joust over the issues of the day: the economy, China and Russia, and of course, fake news. But we started with very real news: the suspected murder of a Saudi journalist, and the catastrophe of Hurricane Michael, which has devastated parts of the Florida panhandle, claiming at least 19 lives, leaving hundreds of thousands without power across the Southeast. Michael comes on the heals of a series of superstorms: Florence in the Carolinas, Maria in Puerto Rico, Harvey in Texas. The story will continue in a moment. Do you still think that climate change is a hoax? I think something's happening. Something's changing and it'll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade. I will say this. I don't wanna give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't wanna lose millions and millions of jobs. I don't wanna be put at a disadvantage. I wish you could go to Greenland, watch these huge chunks of ice just falling into the ocean, raising the sea levels. And you don't know whether or not that would have happened with or without man. You don't know. Well, your scientists, your scientists -- No, we have -- At NOAA and NASA -- We have scientists that disagree with that. You know, I -- I was thinking what if he said, "No, I've seen the hurricane situations, I've changed my mind. There really is climate change." And I thought, "Wow, what an impact." Well -- I'm not denying. What an impact that would make. I'm not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we're talkin' about over a millions -- But that's denying it. -- of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael. Who says that? "They say"? People say. People say that in the -- Yeah, but what about the scientists who say it's worse than ever? You'd have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley. I can't bring them in. Look, scientists also have a political agenda. Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist -- Yes. Yes. the Saudi journalist, was he murdered by the Saudis? And did the prince give the order to kill him? Nobody knows yet, but we'll probably be able to find out. It's being investigated. It's being looked at very, very strongly. And we would be very upset and angry if that were the case. As of this moment, they deny it. And den -- deny it vehemently. Could it be them? Yes. Jared, your son-in-law. Got on the phone and asked the prince. Did he deny it? Did he -- They deny it. They deny it every way you can imagine. In the not-too-distant future, I think we'll know an answer. What are you options? Let's say they did. What are your options? Would you consider imposing sanctions, as a bipartisan group of senators have proposed? Well, it depends on what the sanction is. I'll give ya an example. They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it. We got it. So would you cut that off -- I tell you what I don't wanna do. Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, all these com -- I don't wanna hurt jobs. I don't wanna lose an order like that. There are other ways of -- punishing, to use a word that's a pretty harsh word, but it's true. Tell everybody what's at stake here. You know -- - Well, there's a lot at stake. There's a lot at stake. And maybe especially so because this man was a reporter. There's something -- you'll be surprised to hear me say that. There's something really terrible and disgusting about that, if that were the case. So we're gonna have to see. We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment. You've had a string of wins lately. Let's see, the economy, the d -- the trade deal- Right. With Canada and Mexico, Kavanaugh -- And South Korea. And South Korea. And Kavanaugh, the confirmation. There has been no administration in the history of our country, and I say this openly and proudly, that in its first two years -- Say, this is modesty. Well, it's not even that, it's a fact Tax cuts, regulation cuts, the biggest regulations cuts in history. What about North Korea? Talking about accom -- Well, I consider it a, so far, great achievement. Look, we -- You say "so far"? It's always so far, til everything's done. I -- I -- you know, deals are deals, okay? Whether it's a real estate deal or a retail deal, it doesn't matter. But I will say this. The day before I came in, we were going to war with North Korea. I sat with President Obama -- We were goin' to war? -- and -- we were gonna -- I think it was going to end up in war. And my impression is -- and even in my first few months, I mean, that rhetoric was as tough as it could possibly get. Doesn't get any tougher than that. Nobody's ever heard rhetoric that tough. We were going to war with North Korea. Now, you don't hear that. You don't hear any talk of it. And he doesn't wanna go to war, and we don't wanna go to war, and he understands denuclearization and he's agreed to it. And you see that, he's agreed to it. No missiles. Do you trust him? I do trust him, yeah, I trust him. That doesn't mean I can't be proven wrong -- Why would -- about it? you trust him? Well, first of all, if I didn't trust him, I wouldn't say that to you. Wouldn't I be foolish to tell you right here, on 60 Minutes -- Well, remember what Reagan said. "Trust, but verify." Sure. I know. It's -- it's very true. But the fact is, I do trust him. But we'll see what happens. But is it true that they haven't gotten rid of a single weapon, and they may actually be building more missiles- They want to -- With nuclear -- And I will tell you that they're closing up sites. But -- Setting it up. Is what I said true, that they haven't? Gotten -- Well, nobody really knows. I mean, people are saying that. I've actually said that. What? That they're still building missiles, more missiles? We don't really know, Lesley. We really don't know. But I assume -- Suspect that? Let's say the answer is yes, okay? In the meantime, they haven't tested a missile. They haven't tested a rocket. They definitely haven't done a nuclear test because you know about them real fast. It sort of moves the earth. And we have a relationship now. One of the things that Kim has asked for is for you to ease the sanctions. We haven't done that. Are you prepared to do that? What -- what does he have to do -- No, No. I -- Before you're -- No I'm not doing it. This isn't the Obama administration. I haven't eased the sanctions. I haven't done anything. I haven't done anything. We're meeting. I believe he likes me. I like him. We have a good relationship. It's very important. [Video Clip] And then we fell in love, okay. No really. He wrote me beautiful letters. And they're great letters. We fell in love. [End Clip] I wanna read you his resume, okay? He presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation -- reports that he had his half-brother assassinated, slave labor, public executions. This is a guy you love? Sure. I know all these things. I mean -- I'm not a baby. I know these things. I know, but why do you love that guy? Look, look. I -- I -- I like -- I get along with him, okay? But you love him. Okay. That's just a figure of speech. No, it's like an embrace. It well, let it be an embrace. Let it be whatever it is to get the job done. He's a bad guy. Look. Let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him. Look at the horrible threats that were made. No more threats. No more threats. China. I get along with him. It's very important. China, let's go. I'm skipping across the world here. You've slapped a lot of tariffs -- $250 billion. Gonna do more? Might. Might. Round three? They wanna negotiate, Lesley. They wanna negotiate. Are you ready? Look. Are you ready to -- I have a great chemistry also with President Xi of China. I don't know that that's necessarily going to continue. I told President Xi we cannot continue to have China take $500 billion a year out of the United States in the form of trade and others things. And how -- how -- And I said we can't do that, and we're not gonna do that anymore. How much squeezing of them are you prepared to do when American products are gonna be more expensive for American consumers in the end of all this? Okay. Okay. So, so far, that hasn't turned out to be the case. Some -- -- if you think about it, so far, I put 25% tariffs on steel dumping, and aluminum dumping 10%. But they've -- -- again. -- retaliated. That's what I'm asking. They can retaliate, but they can't -- they don't have enough ammunition to retaliate. We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us. Are you trying to sort of push them into a depression? No no, although they're down 32 percent in four months, which is 1929. Well that's what I'm asking. I don't want that. No, I don't want that. I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our -- our markets are open. But you're in a -- And it will be a fair deal -- -- trade war right now. Trade war. You call it war, I don't call -- You -- you -- -- it -- -- you did today. I called it a skirmish. I heard you, you called it a war. I called it, actually I called it a battle. But, actually, I'm gonna lower that. I consider it a skirmish. And we're gonna win. You have also slapped some tariffs on our allies. I mean, what's an ally? We have wonderful relationships with a lot of people. But nobody treats us much worse than the European Union. The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of us on trade, and that's what they've done. But this is hostile. And yet, they -- it's not hostile. It sounds hostile. You know what's hostile? The way they treat us. We're not hostile. No, but can't you deal with -- We've been -- we've been -- -- them without -- -- the stupid country for so many years. Are you willing to get rid of that Western alliance? Now, I like NATO, NATO's fine. But you know what? We shouldn't be paying almost the entire cost of NATO to protect Europe. And then on top of that, they take advantage of us on trade. They're not going to do it anymore. They understand that. Okay, but are, it does seem this, are you willing to disrupt the Western Alliance? It's been going for 70 years. It's kept the peace for 70 years. You don't know that. You don't know that. I don't know what? You don't know that. Is it true General Mattis said to you, "The reason for NATO and the reason for all these alliances is to prevent World War III?" No, it's not true. What's not true? Frankly, I like General Mattis. I think I know more about it than he does. And I know more about it from the standpoint of fairness, that I can tell you. I'm gonna try one more time. Okay. I know -- and, Lesley, you don't have to try again. I know exactly what you're saying -- Well, answer my question. The answer is this. I will always be there with NATO, but they have to pay their way. I'm fully in favor of NATO, but I don't wanna be taken advantage of. Putin. Yeah. Okay, people don't understand why you never have a harsh word for Vladimir Putin. Okay, you ready? I don't understand it. I have been -- you don't know what I talked about with Putin in the meeting prior to the press conference -- No, I mean publicly. You never say anything harsh about him -- Excuse me. -- publicly. I didn't? I'm the one that gave Ukraine offensive weapons and tank killers. Obama didn't. You know what he sent? He sent pillows and blankets. I'm the one -- and he's the one that gave away a part of Ukraine where Russia now has this -- Well, I mean him personally Vladimir Putin -- I think I'm very tough with him personally. I had a meeting with him. The two of us. It was a very tough meeting and it was a very good meeting. Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings? Probably he is, yeah. Probably. I mean, I don't -- Probably? But I rely on them, it's not in our country. Why not -- they shouldn't do it. This is a terrible thing. Of course they shouldn't do it- Instead do you believe -- That's your [Inaudible] -- -- do you believe that the Russians interfered in the 2016 campaign election? Our election- They -- they meddled. But I think China meddled too. But why do you -- And I think other countries -- -- say China meddled too? And you wanna know something? Why do you say Chi -- why don't you just say -- Well, let me ask you -- -- the Russians meddled? Because I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China -- This is amazing. -- is a bigger problem. You are diverting the whole Russia thing. I'm not doing anything. You are, you are I'm saying Russia, but I'm also saying China. [Voiceover] But it's the investigation of Russia's intervention in the 2016 election that hangs over his presidency and caused a rift with his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because he recused himself from the inquiry. What about the attorney general, Jeff Sessions? Well, we'll see what happens come midterms. But -- But everybody thinks, given the things you've said -- I was disappointed that he recused himself and many people think I was right on that. I was very disappointed. Why should he have recused himself? So I was very -- So -- -- disappointed but -- So can I assume -- -- we'll see what happens. Can I assume he's gone? No. No. You can't assume that. Will you. Will you pledge -- pledge that you will not shut down the Mueller investigation? Well, I -- I don't pledge anything. But I will tell you, I have no intention of doing that. I think it's a very unfair investigation because there was no collusion of any kind. But you won't pledge -- There is no collusion. I don't wanna pledge. Why should I pledge to you? If I pledge, I'll pledge. I don't have to pledge to you. But I have- Well -- I have no intention of doing that. [Voiceover] To date, 32 people have been charged or pled guilty in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. President Trump's campaign chairman, top campaign aide, former national security advisor and longtime personal attorney are all cooperating in the inquiry the president calls a witch hunt. Do you really think I'd call Russia to help me with an election? Give me a break. They wouldn't be able to help me at all. Call Russia. It's so ridiculous. One thing the president loves to talk about, and for good reason, is the economy. Consumer confidence is higher than it's been in nearly two decades and unemployment, at 3.7 percent, is the lowest in nearly 50 years. And yet, there's an ugly mood in the air. We are a country torn by angry, bitter partisan divisions. And there are many who say the president isn't helping. We talked with the president about that, the contentious Kavanaugh hearings, questions of chaos in his administration. And his record so far. So you've been president for almost two years. Is there anything that you wish you hadn't said, anything you wish you hadn't done? Do you have any regrets? So when I won the presidency, I th -- I -- I -- the press treats me terribly. I thought very strongly that, you know, the one great thing will happen is the press will start treating me great. Lesley, they treat me worse. They got worse instead of better. Very dishonest. Okay, this -- you're -- but you regret? I regret that the press treats me so badly -- I'm -- I'm really asking [Inaudible] -- And despite that, my poll numbers are very good, so. Have you made any mistakes? That's my question. Everybody makes mistakes. And what have been yours? I could have been -- earlier with terminating the NAFTA deal. The problem was, I was getting to know the leaders. I was getting to know countries. I didn't wanna do it right outta the box. So I waited a little while, but I could have done trade a little bit earlier. What about the forced separation of children from their -- migrant children -- Yeah. Well, that was -- from the -- the same as the Obama law. You know, Obama had the same thing. It was on the books, but he didn't enforce it. You -- enforced it. You launched that -- the zero tolerance policy -- to deter families with children coming -- No, but then everybody decided and the courts don't want separation. And frankly, when you don't do separa -- when you allow the parents to stay together, okay, when you allow that, then what happens is people are gonna pour into our country. So are you gonna go back to that? Well, we're looking at a lot of things. Really what we wanna do is change the immigration laws, 'cause they were -- they were a laughing stock all over the world. Are you willing though -- I think that you're saying you're -- it's under consideration. No, I want all the laws changed. But the children specifically -- there have to be consequences, Lesley, for coming into our country illegally. And part of the r -- I mean, part of the reason, I have to blame myself, the economy is so strong that everybody wants to come into the United States. Can I just ask this simple question, yes or no. Go ahead. Are you willing to reinstitute that policy? You said, "We're looking at everything." I will -- Yes or no. I will only -- I can't -- you can't say yes or no. What I can say is this: There are consequences from coming into a country, namely our country, illegally. I'm not gonna ask it again -- You don't have to. 'cause I know you won't -- it -- But it's the same as Obama. [Video Clip] It is vicious, it's full of lies, deceit and deception. [End Clip] Okay. Changing subjects again -- you are the first president of the United States who never had a political post before, nor never served in the military. You come up here, you've been here for almost two years, what's the biggest surprise and what have you learned since you've been president? Okay. So I always used to say the toughest people are Manhattan real estate guys and blah, blah. Now I say they're babies. Who's the toughest? They're babies, the political people. This is the most deceptive, vicious world. It is vicious, it's full of lies, deceit and deception. You make a deal with somebody and it's like making a deal with -- that table. Give me an example. Well, I don't wanna give you an example. I'm not lookin' to -- in the meantime, nobody's been able to do what I've been able to do. Remember that. When you look at taxes, you look at regulations, you look at -- making deals with other countries. Nobody's been able to do anything like this. Actually, most people didn't even try because they knew they didn't have the ability to do it. But it's a very deceptive world. The other thing I've really learned is I never knew how dishonest the media was. I -- I -- and I really mean it. I'm not saying that as a sound bite. I never -- I'd like to -- Knew how dishonest -- I'm -- I'm gonna change the subject again. Well, no, even the way you asked me a question, like, about separation. When I say Obama did it, you don't wanna talk about it. No, I'm gonna run your -- When I say I did it, let's make a big deal of it. I'm gonna run your answer, but you did it four times, so. I'm just telling you that you treated me much differently on the subject. I disagree, but I don't wanna have that fight with you. Hey, it's okay -- All right, I'll get in another fight with you -- Lesley, it's okay. In the meantime, I'm president -- and you're not. [Voiceover] It's a presidency like no other: he's redefined the office, with a governing style that's more freewheeling in-your-face New York than buttoned-up Washington. He's not shy about trumpeting his victories, but some have come with a cost. This country is divided, polarized. Within families, there aren't even people who can talk to each other. What does this say about where we are as a country right now, all this division and strife and -- Yeah -- I think that -- -- anger? -- what's going to happen -- I think the economy's bringing people together. It was very polarized under President Obama, unbelievably polarized under President Obama. I can see the country uniting. I can see it. We have people, Democrats, who behaved horribly during the Judge Kavanaugh -- you -- know what I'm saying. But when you won that. -- during the hearings for the Supreme Court, we had senators that behaved horribly. But when you won, you won. No -- no one is gonna argue with that. I won -- You won. And then after you won, instead of saying, "Oh, let's all come together, this is wonderful. Let's heal all of this," you come out and bash the Democrats. Well, I bashed their attitude. I bashed their statements -- But why not try to -- Because they were -- -- bring us together? -- so unfair to Judge Kavanaugh. I've never -- But why not -- seen anything like it. -- why not try and -- we need to be healed. We need -- I don't think they want to heal yet, I'll be honest. Well, you don't wanna -- I think -- heal yet. I -- I -- I saw Hillary Clinton made a really nasty statement. I don't think they wanna be healed. I do wanna heal. I'm n -- I'm not talking about Democrat -- I'm talking about the country. You go out and you go to Mississippi. The famous Mississippi speech? [Video Clip] I had one beer. Well, you think it was, nope! It was one beer. Oh good. How did you get home? I don't remember. How did you get there? I don't remember. Where is the place? I don't remember. How many years ago was it? I don't know. I don't know... I don't know... [End Clip] And you mimicked Professor Blasey Ford. You mimicked her. Had I not made that speech, we would not have won. I was just saying she didn't seem to know anything. No [Inaudible] -- And you're trying to destroy a life of a man who has been extraordinary. Why did you have to make fun of her? I didn't really make fun of her. Well, they were laughing. What I said the person that we're talking about didn't know the year, the time, the place. Professor Blasey Ford got before the Senate and -- and was asked what's the worst moment. And she said, "When the two boys laughed at me, at my expense." Ok, fine. And then I watched you mimic her and thousands of people were laughing at her. They can do what they -- I -- I will tell you this. The way now Justice Kavanaugh was treated has become a big factor in the midterms. Have you seen what's gone on with the polls? But did you have to -- Well, I think she was treated with great respect, I'll -- I'll -- And -- but -- be honest with you. but do you think -- you treated her with -- There are those that think she shouldn't have -- Do you think you treated her with respect? I think so, yeah. I did. But you seem to be saying that she lied. W -- you know what? I'm not gonna get into it because we won. It doesn't matter. We won. [Voiceover] Ever since the Mississippi speech, he's been out campaigning, rallying his supporters for the midterm elections. But back in Washington, he's had to deal with reports of internal strife in his administration. The anonymous column that ran in "The New York Times." The author, we don't know who it is. Whoever it is. Whoever it is. Maybe it was "The New York Times" too. Paints a picture. No, no, it's -- By the way, you don't know how dishonest "The New York Times" is. It could've been "The New York Times." I doubt it. But it could've been. Okay. I doubt it too. It also could've been any -- w -- well, don't count on it. It also could've been any one of 3,000 people. [Voiceover] The anonymous op-ed column told of a "resistance" within the Trump Administration, who've questioned his fitness for office. You have said that this administration is like a smooth-running machine. And yet, we keep hearing that the White House is in chaos. It's -- wrong, it's so false. It's fake news. I'm changing things around. And I'm entitled to. I have people now on standby that will be phenomenal. They'll come into the administration, they'll be phenomenal. More people gonna go? Yeah, other people will go, sure. 'Cause so many people, you have kind of a record of -- on turnover. I think I have a great Cabinet. There're some people that I'm not happy with. Who are you not happy with? No, I don't wanna say that but Come on. Not I don't want to say that. But I have some people that I'm not thrilled with. And I have other people that I'm beyond thrilled with. What about General Mattis? Is he going to leave? Well, I don't know. He hasn't told me that. I have -- Do you want him to -- -- a very good relationship with him. It could be that he is. I think he's sort of a Democrat, if you wanna know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That's Washington. The first lady, Melania. She said that there are still people in the White House that she doesn't trust and that you shouldn't trust. I feel the same way. I don't trust everybody in the White House, I'll be honest with you. You go to a meeting, do you have to wonder, "Is he wearing a wire -- " I'm usually -- -- or whatever? Not so much a wire. I'm usually guarded. And I think I'm guarded anyway. But I'm not saying I trust everybody in the White House. I'm not a baby. It's a tough business. This is a r -- this is a vicious place. Washington DC is a vicious, vicious place. The attacks, the -- the bad mouthing, the speaking behind your back. -- but -- you know, and in my way, I feel very comfortable here. It takes a president a while to find his sea legs. I think so. I mean, I felt comfortable at the beginning, other than it was a little surreal to say I'm the president of the United States, but I think that's true with everybody. POTUS. Now I very much feel like POTUS. I do. I feel like the president. You know, for a little while, it's like -- "Mr. President, sir." It's -- even my friends, they call me, they -- they don't call me Donald -- they call me Mr. President. And I say, "Will you please loosen up?" I've learned on the job. I have. And you feel comfortable? I feel very comfortable, yeah.