President Donald Trump at the White House coronavirus task force press briefing on Saturday:
Q Mr. President, this is off topic. It’s about the announcement from last night. It’s a yes or no question, but not that we expect the answer to be yes or no. But wasn’t Michael Atkinson doing the job of the Inspector General of the intelligence community, the job he was supposed to do, when he simply took the whistleblower complaint to Congress that hadn’t been taken previously? Wasn’t he doing the job that he was supposed to do, that American taxpayers were paying him to do? And why did you decide to terminate – THE PRESIDENT: I thought he did a terrible job. Absolutely terrible. He took a whistleblower report, which turned out to be a fake report – it was fake. It was totally wrong. It was about my conversation with the President of Ukraine. He took a fake report and he brought it to Congress, with an emergency. Okay? Not a big Trump fan – that, I can tell you. Instead of saying – and we offered this to him: No, no, we will take the conversation – where, fortunately, we had that transcript. If we didn’t have a transcript with the kind of deception and dishonesty that were practiced by the Democrats, I might not be standing here right now. Okay? Fortunately, we had a transcript and it was a perfect transcript, because even the lieutenant colonel admitted it was correct. Okay? Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You asked a question. So he took this whistleblower – and I keep saying, Where’s the whistleblower? Right? And why was the whistleblower allowed to do this? Why was he allowed to be – you call it fraudulent or incorrect transcript. So we offered this IG – I don’t know him; I don’t think I ever met him. I don’t think I – he never even came in to see me. How can you do that without seeing the person? Never came in to see me. Never requested to see me. He took this terrible, inaccurate whistleblower report – right? – and he brought it to Congress. We offered to have him see my exact conversation. It was all about the conversation, by the way. That was the whole thing, was about the conversation. Right? And then after he saw it, he must’ve said, Wow, because as I’ve said it many times and it drives you people crazy, it was a perfect conversation. So instead of going and saying, Gee, this is a terrible thing he said about the President’s conversation – well, it was a fraud. I didn’t say that. And, by the way, you have the whistleblower. Where’s the informer? Right? And here’s another question: Remember before I did the – before I gave the transcript – in other words, before I revealed the real conversation – where’s the second whistleblower? Remember the second whistle – Wait, wait, wait, wait. There was going to be a second whistleblower. But after I gave the conversation, he just went away. He miraculously went away. Where’s the informer? Because there was going to be this informer. Maybe Schiff was the informer. You ever think of that? He’s a corrupt guy. He’s a corrupt politician. So, listen, I say this: Where’s the informer? Remember, the informer was coming forward. But I gave – because, see, I did one thing that surprised everybody. This gentleman right here said, Boy, that was a shocker. I revealed the conversation. I got approval from Ukraine because I didn’t want to do it without their approval. And they said, Absolutely. You did nothing wrong. By the way, President of Ukraine, Foreign Minister said, He did nothing wrong. And over that, with 196 to nothing vote by the Republicans – not one dissenting Republican vote – dishonest Democrats impeached a President of the United States. That man is a disgrace to IGs. All right, let’s go. Next. Please. He’s a total disgrace. Q Mr. President, did you run by your decision to dismiss the Inspector General by Senator McConnell? THE PRESIDENT: Okay, we’ll get off this because people want to talk about what we’re talking about. But let me just tell you something: That’s my decision. I have the absolute right. Even the fake news last night said, He has the absolute right to do it. But ask him, Why didn’t you go and see the actual conversation? There was no rush. He said, Oh we’d have to rush it. He even said it was politically biased. He actually said that. The report could have been – you know who the whistleblower is, and so do you and so does everybody in this room, and so do I. Everybody knows. But they give this whistleblower a status that he doesn’t deserve. He’s a fake whistleblower. And, frankly, somebody ought to sue his ass off. Q I just want to follow up, sir. THE PRESIDENT: All right, it’s enough with the whistleblower.