[Transcript courtesy of Fox News. Minor corrections in official transcript are reflected below] We sat down with Mr. Trump Friday in the Roosevelt Room, just across from the Oval Office, hoping to explore a presidency at a turning point. [Interview Begins] Mr. President, thank you for talking with us. Thank you Chris, very much. Let's start with the state of Donald Trump. Right. There are a number of stories out there that you're angry about the mid-terms, about your treatment in the media, about the way you were treated when you were in Paris. One story even said that you were in a "cocoon of bitterness and resentment." Right. We'll get in to all the details later but how dark is your mood? It's very light, it's fake news, it's disgusting fake news. I read a front page story in the Washington Post, they never even called me, nobody ever calls me. You know, they hear -- I don't even think they have sources I think they just make it up like it's fiction. And I will tell you I'm extremely upbeat, the White House is running like a well-oiled machine, it's doing really well, I have great people. I will make some changes but not very many. I'm very happy with my cabinet, other than, you know a couple of exceptions and even there I'm not unhappy. And I will tell you that it's so wrong, the reporting about me is so wrong. I'm loving what I'm doing, I did well in France, I did have a problem where I wasn't able to go to a cemetery because the Secret Service would not let me do it. We'll get in to all of this sir -- No, but I'm just saying the Secret Service would not let me do it and they made it a big deal. You've said a lot of things there, let's try to unpack them. There's a lot of talk about staff changes, your deputy national security advisor was moved out after your wife did something I've never heard of a first lady doing before: publically calling for her removal. Are you comfortable with the way that went down where it kind of looked like your wife was firing one of your advisors? Well I didn't know the advisor well, really, and I know they had a lot of problem. My wife did a great job in Africa and she was not treated properly by the press, she really worked so hard. They came to me. They wanted to go a little bit public because that's the way they felt and I thought it was fine. I met with Mira two days ago and we're going to move her around. She was with me for a long time, although I don't know her. She's really somebody I don't know very well. But we're going to move her around because she's got certain talents. But, frankly, she is not -- she'll never be put in the United Nations, let me put it that way. Meaning she's not too diplomatic? She's not too diplomatic, but she's talented. Are you happy with Kirstjen Nielsen at DHS? Well, I like her a lot. I respect her a lot. She's very smart. I want her to get much tougher and we'll see what happens there. But I want to be extremely tough. What are the chances she'll be DHS Secretary -- Well there's a chance. But there's a chance everybody -- I mean that's what happens in government you leave, you make a name, you go. The people that have left have done very well. The people that have left have done very well -- from my White House. I like her very much, I respect her very much, I'd like her to be much tougher on the border -- much tougher, period. Back in July you said that Chief of Staff John Kelly will be here through 2020. Well -- Can you still say that? We -- I wouldn't -- look, we get along well. There are certain things I love what he does. And there are certain things that I don't like that he does -- that aren't his strength. It's not that he doesn't do -- you know he works so hard. He's doing an excellent job in many ways. There are a couple of things where it's just not his strength. It's not his fault, it's not his strength. Such as? But I haven't even thought about John in terms of this. But John, at some point, is going to want to move on. John will move on. So 2020 is no longer written in stone? It could happen. Yeah, it could -- I mean it could be. But let's see what happens. I have not -- look, I have three or four or five positions that I'm thinking about. Of that, maybe it's going to end up being two. Maybe, but I want to -- I need flexibility. You have already made at least one big change, naming Matt Whitaker as your acting -- Yeah. -- Attorney General. He has a long record of speaking out against the Special Counsel and his probe. [Video Clip] I could see a scenario where Jeff Sessions is replaced with a recess appointment and that attorney general doesn't fire Bob Mueller, but he just reduces the budget so low that his his investigation grinds to an absolute -- almost a halt. [Video Clip] The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign. Did you know, before you appointed him, that he had that record and was so critical of Robert Mueller? I did not know that. I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such. And when you found that out? I don't think it had any effect. If you look at those statements those statements that can -- they really can be viewed either way, but I don't think it will have any impact -- Well, he said there's no collusion, he says -- Chris, I'll tell you what -- -- he said you can starve the investigation -- He's right. What do you do when a person's right? There is no collusion. He happened to be right. I mean, he said it. So if he said there is collusion, I'm supposed to be taking somebody that says there is? Because then I wouldn't take him for two reasons, but the number one reason is the fact that he would have been wrong. If he said that there's no collusion, he's right. He is going to have to make or could potentially make a lot of big calls in the Mueller investigation. If Mueller decides that he wants to subpoena you, the Attorney General Whitaker can block that. If Mueller issues a final report, he can decide how much goes to Congress or doesn't go to Congress. You tweeted this week about, quote, "Bob Mueller and his gang of Democrat thugs." Right. If Whitaker decides in any way to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you OK with that? Look he -- it's going to be up to him. I think he's very well aware politically. I think he's astute politically. He's a very smart person. A very respected person. He's going to do what's right. I really believe he's going to do what's right. But you won't overrule him if he decides to curtail -- I would not get involved. And all these people that say I'm going to end the investigation, you know, they've been saying that now for -- how long has this witch hunt gone on? It's gone on for, what? Since May of '17. OK, but how long have I been looked at? You know when I've been looked at? From the day I… Since July of 2016. From the day I announced. I was looked at as a candidate with nothing, no proof, with phony people like McCabe and Strzok and his lover -- you had Lisa Page, his lover. These people were looking at me, they wanted an insurance policy just in case I won or Hillary lost, and this was the insurance policy. It's a scam. There was no collusion whatsoever, and the whole thing is a scam. Your team is preparing written answers to questions about -- No, no, no, not my team. I'm preparing written answers. My -- I -- I'm the one that does the answering. Yes, are they writing them out? Yes. Yeah. They're writing what I tell them to write. Are they going to be submitted? At some point very soon, yes. I've completed them. So you're -- you are submitting -- And it wasn't a big deal. By the way, it wasn't a big deal. The answers -- the questions were asked and answered. It wasn't a big deal. You know, they make it like I had meetings for many, many hours -- I got the questions, I responded, we wrote them out, I read them once, I read them a second time, we made some changes, that's it. They're very simple. OK. You know why? I did nothing wrong. Here's my question, though. You are submitting written answers -- Yes. -- to the special counsel about the issue of collusion but not on obstruction of justice? Well there was no obstruction of justice. I -- I'm -- let me -- if i might, sir, just ask -- I think they'd probably agree with me. If I may ask the question, And all you have to do is look at Article II. Is that your final position, that there's going to be no sit-down interview and nothing written or in person on obstruction? I would say probably. Probably. I mean, I can change my mind, but probably. I think we've -- No interview? I think we've wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably, we're finished. What are the odds? One in a hundred? What -- What? I don't do odds, I gave very detailed -- You ran a casino sir. You're right, and very successfully actually. We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn't have even been asked and I think that should solve the problem, I hope it solves the problem, if it doesn't, you know, I'll be told and we'll make a decision at that time. But probably this is the end. Turkish President Erdogan says that he has shared a tape with the U.S. and other countries that is of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Right. Have you one, either heard the tape yourself or been briefed on it and if so, to your mind what does it show? We have the tape, I don't want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape. Why don't you want to hear it sir? Because it's a suffering tape, it's a terrible tape. I've been fully briefed on it, there's no reason for me to hear it, in fact I said to the people should I? They said: "you really shouldn't, there's no reason." I know exactly -- I know everything that went on in the tape without having to hear it. And what happened? It was very violent, very vicious and terrible. A month ago you said you had spoken with Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman and that he had told you directly that he had no knowledge of this. That's right, that's right and still says that. But we now know that some of the people closest to him, some of his closest advisors were part of this. Question, did MBS lie to your sir? I don't -- I don't know, you know who could really know but I can say this he's got many people now that say he had no knowledge. What if the Crown Prince speaking to you, the President of the United States directly lied to you about -- Well, he told me that he had nothing to do with it, he told me that I would say maybe five times at different points. But what if he's lying? As recently as a few days ago. Do you just live with it because you need him? Well, will anybody really know? All right, will anybody really know? But he did have certainly people that were reasonably close to him and close to him that were probably involved. You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia. But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good. So, if Congress were to move to either try to cut off any U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen or to block any arms sales you won't go along with it? Well I want to see Yemen end but it takes two to tango. Iran has to end it also. And Iran is a different country than it was when I took over, it's far weakened because of what I did with the Iran -- so-called Iran deal, Iran nuclear deal, which was one of the great rip-offs of -- of all time. But I want Saudi to stop but I want Iran to stop also. When Democrats flipped the House back in 2006 and picked up 30 seats, President Bush 43 had a news conference the next day and said, "We had a thumping." Last week, in this election, the House picked up, so far it's 36 seats, it may be on the way to 40 seats and your reaction was that it was almost a complete victory. I won the Senate, you don't mention that. But, well -- I -- Excuse me, I won the Senate. I understand that but -- I think they said 88 years. But this was a -- this was a historically big defeat in the House. You lost 36, maybe 40 seats. Some would argue that it was a thumping. And I want to talk about some of the ways in which you lost. You lost in traditionally Republican suburbs, not only around liberal cities like Philadelphia and D.C. but also red-state big cities like Houston and Oklahoma City. You lost among suburban women. You lost among independents and, in three key states that I think you remember pretty well -- Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan -- you lost both the governor seats and the senate seats. Are you ready? I won the Senate, and that's historic too, because if you look at presidents in the White House it's almost never happened where you won a seat. We won -- we now have 53 as opposed to 51 and we have 53 great Senators in the U.S. Senate. We won. That's a tremendous victory. Nobody talks about that. That's a far greater victory than it is for the other side. Number two, I wasn't on the ballot. I wasn't -- Wait -- wait a minute you said -- you kept saying -- I said look at me -- I said look me. You said, "Pretend I'm on the ballot..." But I have people and you see the polls, how good they are, I have people that won't vote unless I'm on the ballot, OK? And I wasn't on the ballot. And almost everybody that I won -- I think they said it was 10 out of 11. And I won against President Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama in a great state called Georgia for the governor. And it was all stacked against Brian and I was the one that went for Brian and Brian won. Look at Florida. I went down to Florida. Rick Scott won and he won by a lot. I don't know what happened to all those votes that disappeared at the very end. And if I didn't put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes he would of lost that election, OK? In my opinion he would have lost. They would have taken that election away from him. Rick Scott won Florida. You'd have to say, excuse me, a man named Ron DeSantis is now your governor -- your new governor of Florida. A wonderful man named DeWine is your governor of the great state of Ohio. Remember what they used to say before my election? You cannot win unless you win Ohio. I won Ohio. We had a tremendous set of victories. You look at the victories -- But if you can't carry -- and you certainly didn't carry it two weeks ago -- Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania -- you're not going to get reelected. I didn't run. I wasn't running. My name wasn't on the ballot. There are many people that think, "I don't like Congress," that like me a lot. I get it all the time; "Sir, we'll never vote unless you're on the ballot." I get it all the time. People are saying, "Sir, I will never vote unless you're on the ballot. I say, "No, no, go and vote." "Well, what do you mean?" As much as I try and convince people to go vote, I'm not on the ballot. [Part 1 of Interview Ends] [Part 2 of Interview begins] A federal judge who you appointed has just ruled that you must give CNN reporter Jim Acosta his press pass back. Your reaction to the ruling, sir. It's fine, I mean it's not a big deal. What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct et cetera, et cetera, we're doing that. We're going to write them up right now, it's not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we'll throw him out or we'll stop the news conference. Actually -- What are your rules going to be? What what is it that you're saying this is over the line and you lose your press pass -- Yeah, they're doing them now. I mean, we'll have rules of decorum, you know, you can't keep asking questions, you have -- we had a lot of reporters in that room, many, many reporters in that room and they were unable to ask questions because this guy gets up and starts, you know, doing what he's supposed to be doing for him and for CNN and, you know, just shouting out questions. But but I will say this, look, nobody believes in the First Amendment more than I do and if I think somebody's acting out of sorts, I will leave, I'll say thank you very much everybody, I appreciate you coming and I will leave. And those reporters will not be too friendly to whoever it is that's acting up. Why did you call on Acosta in the first place? I mean, it seems to me there's a simple solution here, just don't call on him. Actually I like to do it, but in many cases I don't. He'll stand up, he's unbelievably rude to Sarah Huckabee, who's a wonderful woman, unbelievably rude and I see that and I actually ask her the same. Why do you call on these people that are so nasty? I think one of the things we'll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them because then they don't have any air time, although I'll probably be sued for that and maybe, you know, win or lose it, who knows. I mean, with with this stuff you never know what's going to happen. Let's get to the bigger issue. In 2017, last year, you tweeted this, and I want to quote it accurately, "The fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people." That's true, 100 percent. Not the media. I -- I'm glad you're finally quoting it correctly because they like to leave the fake news out -- OK, but that's what you said. The fake news -- so -- But here's here's -- The people that are supporting me in particular, they're very smart people. They're hard working, brilliant, great people. They know when the news is fake and they get angry when they see all of the fakeness -- But but -- At, frankly, the networks -- But there have been people who have been critical of other presidents, they're they're -- no president has liked his press coverage. John Kennedy, in your Oval Office, canceled the subscription to the New York Herald-Tribune. Nobody called it the enemy of the American people. Chris, I'm calling the fake news is the enemy -- it's fake, it's phony. But a lot of times, sir, it's just news you don't like -- No it's not, no. No. I don't mind getting bad news if I'm wrong. If I do something wrong -- like, for instance, the cemetery. I was not allowed to go because of the Secret Service. Because they expected to take a helicopter -- OK. They had zero visibility. They said, "Sir, we are totally unequipped for you to go." In addition to that, the cemetery was far too far away from Air Force One, which is sort of like a control center, where you had to be near. Not one paper that I saw wrote it that way. They said I stayed out of it because of the rain. And yet, the following day, I made a speech at the American cemetery -- I understand. It was pouring. It wasn't even really raining the first day but the fog was tremendous. OK? But, sir leaders in authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela, now repress the media using your words. I can't talk for other people, I can only talk for me. I will tell you -- But you're -- but you're seen around the world as a beacon for repression, not for -- The news -- Chris -- Chris, I'm not talking about you, but you sometimes maybe. But I'm not talking about you. The news about me is largely phony. It's false. Even sometimes they'll say, uh, "Sources say." There is no source, in many cases -- in many cases there is -- But -- I understand you don't like your coverage -- No, no, no. It's not a question -- Can I just bring the -- can I just bring the bigger issue -- Ninety-four percent negative. Can I bring the -- the bigger issue up -- Yeah. Bill McRaven, Retired Admiral, Navy Seal, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations -- Hillary Clinton fan. Special Operations -- Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan. Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime. OK, he's a Hilary Clinton, uh, backer and an Obama-backer and frankly -- He was a Navy Seal 37 years -- Wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn't it have been nice? You know, living -- think of this -- living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don't know, I've seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there. And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year and they don't tell him, they don't tell him -- You're not even going to give them credit -- For years -- for taking down Bin Laden? They took him down but -- look, look, there's news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we're supporting Pakistan, we're giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don't give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don't do anything for us, they don't do a damn thing for us. I'm totally in favor of the media, I'm totally in favor of free press, got to be fair press. When it's fake -- But but the President [doesn't] get to decide what's fair and what's not. I can tell what's fair and not and so can my people and so can a lot of other people. I understand that but but -- When you do something very good and they write it badly and this is consistently when you -- as an example, rarely do they talk about -- Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time but he never said we were the enemy of the people. Well, no, he didn't talk about the news, he didn't talk about anything, I'm only saying it very differently than anyone's ever said it before, I'm saying fake news, false reporting, dishonest reporting, of which there is a lot, and I know it. See, I know it because I'm a subject of it. A lot of people don't know it. But when I explain it to them, they understand it. And, Chris, you know that better, you don't have to sit here and act like a perfect little, wonderful, innocent angel, I know you too well, I knew your father too well, that's not your gene. But let me tell you -- I -- look -- I think -- Fake news -- I think some of the coverage of you, sir -- and I've said it on the record -- is bias, but I don't think that there is -- Most of it is bias, most of it is bias. I don't know, but the idea that you call us the enemy of the people. I'm not calling you that. I'm talking about, we're all together. I'm not calling you -- you don't understand it. We're all together. No, no, no, I'm not calling you -- It doesn't matter whether you call, but when you call CNN and the New York Times and -- we, we're in solidarity, sir. I am calling fake news, fake reporting, is what's tearing this country apart because people know, people like things that are happening and they're not hearing about it. Where do you rank yourself in the pantheon of great Presidents? There's Lincoln and Washington, there's FDR and Reagan, do you make the top 10? I think I'm doing a great job. We have the best economy we've ever had. So where do you rank yourself? We're doing really well. We would have been at war with North Korea if, let's say, that administration continued forward. I would give myself, I would -- look, I hate to do it, but I will do it, I would give myself an A+, is that enough? Can I go higher than that? Can you envision a situation, you talk about six more years. Can you envision a situation well into your second term where you think that you're so good for the country and so essential for the progress of the country that you would try to amend the Constitution so you could serve a third term? No, no. Why not? Just won't happen, it's not -- I think the eight year limit is a good thing, not a bad thing. You've talked a lot already about the cemetery and the fact that you didn't go because it was a security concern and you did go the next day. Here's the thing -- No, excuse me. Not security concern -- they wouldn't allow me to go -- I understand. They said, "Sir," Secret Service said, "Sir, you cannot go. We are not prepared. You cannot go." Because it was supposed to be helicopter, but the helicopter couldn't fly because of zero visibility. So -- OK. But, let me -- They said, "Sir, you cannot go." But here's the question, you're back in Washington on Monday, Veterans Day, why don't you go across the river to Arlington for that ceremony? Barack Obama went every year he was here in D.C. I should have done that. I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling, as you know -- But this is Veterans Day -- I probably, you know, in retrospect I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year. But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state doing other things. Why haven't -- But I would have -- I would have done it. Why haven't you visited our troops serving in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in the two years you've been in office as Commander-in-Chief? Well, I think you will see that happen. There are things that are being planned. We don't want to talk about it because of -- obviously because of security reasons and everything else. But there are things that are planned. As you know, I was very much opposed to the war in Iraq. I think it was a tremendous mistake, should have never happened -- But this is about the soldiers, sir. You're right. I don't think anybody's been more with the military than I have, as a president. In terms of funding, in terms of all of the things I've been able to get them, including the vets. I don't think anybody's done more than me. I've had an unbelievable busy schedule and I will be doing it. On top of which you have these phony witch hunts. On top of which -- I mean, we've just been very busy. But I will be doing that. Just before the midterms you said your biggest regret is that perhaps you should have had a softer tone in your two years as president. But since then, some could argue, you've been on a tear. At the press conference the day after the election you mocked some of the Republican congressmen who lost not embracing you. [Video Clip] Mia Love gave me no love and she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia. You went after two African-American reporters and basically said that they were dumb. [Video Clip] The same thing with April Ryan. I watch her get up. I mean, you talk about somebody that's a loser, she doesn't know what the hell she's doing. [Video Clip] Do you want him to rein in Robert Mueller? [Video Clip] What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions. Question. I was in Saint Joe's, Missouri this last week and I was talking to a lot of loyal Republicans. They love what you've done to the economy. They love the fact that you have basically put ISIS out of business. The one thing they say is, why do you have to be so divisive? Why don't you do more to bring the country together? I think that if I was very different I wouldn't have gotten what we had to get. We got the biggest tax cuts in history, we got ANWR approved, we have -- we got rid of the individual mandate, which was the most unpopular thing you can imagine -- health care -- I got rid of it, everybody said it would be impossible to get rid of it. And many many -- you know, the regulations. I think if I was a more modified, more moderate, in that sense, I don't think I would have done half of the things that I was able to get completed. With that being said, other than you have to have a certain ability to fight back and, as you know, people have -- you know, they take strong stands on me both ways, you know, love and hate. I'd like to see it a little bit, maybe, more right down the middle. But tone is something that is important to me. But a lot of times you can't practice tone because you have people coming at you so hard that if you don't fight back in a somewhat vigorous way you're not going to win. And we have to win. This country has to win. We have a lot of victories coming and I think if I -- if I go too low-key we're not going to have those victories. Mr. President, thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Chris. Very much appreciate it, sir. [Part Two of Interview Ends] [Part 3 of Interview begins] So have you gotten comfortable with the place yet, sir? I have, I feel very comfortable. It took me a little while. You know, it's sort of incredible. You say you're the President of the United States, and I say, wow, and it takes a little while to get over that. I was going to ask you, the first time -- Yeah. -- that you're in the Oval Office -- Right. -- by yourself, everybody's gone, you're looking around the room, the -- the iconic room, the most famous -- Here we are, you know I've had people come into this -- the biggest people in the world, presidents, prime ministers, the heads of the biggest companies in the world and they always stop and they say, this is the Oval Office. Yes. This is the Oval Office. There is nothing like it in the world. This is the Resolute Desk, very famous. This is where John John, at the time, right? Right. John Kennedy was right here, that's a little door that opens up and that was the famous picture, I could show you that picture, in fact, I'll give it to you. But this is a very important desk -- FDR, John Kennedy, you know, we have seven desks and as president you can choose any one of the desks. This is to me, I think the most beautiful, in terms of its carving. I also think in many respects it's just some people that I respect. How, when you're sitting at the desk, how do you make decisions? I mean do you agonize over them, do you second guess yourself? How does -- I don't think about it, I don't think about, you know, how I make them. I make what I consider the right decision, I have great people working at the White House, they don't get enough credit. I have some tremendously talented people and I will talk to them and sometimes I'll have them go at each other, I do like that, you know let them go at each other. And they do. They've very competitive people and at the end I make a decision and it's certainly -- on the economy, a lot of things we've been -- we've made a lot of good decisions and I want to keep it that way. Do you ever second guess yourself? Do you ever -- Yes, oh, all the time. And do you sometimes change your -- I've done things where I wished I went a different route but then what you do is you change course and you -- you bring it back, you stabilize it out. But -- Toughest decision you've had to make as President? Well, I think North Korea's been very tough because you know we were very close. When I took that over President Obama right in those two chairs, we sat and talked and he said that's by far the biggest problem that this country has. And I think we had real decision as to which way to go on North Korea and certainly at least so far I'm very happy with the way we went. I have a very good relationship with -- Even though there was talk that they putting up new sites? Maybe they are, maybe they're not, I don't believe that, I don't. And you know could which is -- if that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes. You know, I go with the way we have to go but so far it's been good, we have a very good relationship. We've made I think some great decisions for the people of this country and I do, you know I put America first and other countries should put themselves first. It's not like we should put -- and everybody else should be second to us, no. Other countries are proud of their countries and their leadership put their countries first. But we were putting our country in many cases last. We were more worried about the world than we were worried about the United States, that's not going to happen with me.