×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Trump Tells News Anchors That Special Counsel in Russia Probe ‘Hurts Our Country’

In a meeting at the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump told news anchors that the appointment of a special counsel in the Russia probe is bad for the U.S.

“I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country,” Trump said in an on-the-record statement. “And we have very important things to be doing right now, whether it’s trade deals, whether it’s military, whether it’s stopping nuclear — all of the things that we discussed today. And I think this shows a very divided country.”

He also reiterated his previous claim that the Democrats are using the Russia investigation as an “excuse.”

“It also happens to be a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way,” he added. “That’s all this is. I think it shows division, and it shows that we’re not together as a country. And I think it’s a very, very negative thing. And hopefully, this can go quickly, because we have to show unity if we’re going to do great things with respect to the rest of the world.”

The attendees at the lunch included Chris Wallace and Bret Baier from Fox News, John Dickerson and Scott Pelley from CBS News; George Stephanopoulos and David Muir from ABC News; Savannah Guthrie from NBC News;  Jake Tapper and Wolf Blitzer from CNN; and Greta Van Susteren from MSNBC, among others. It was set as an off-the-record session, but Trump’s statement was made on the record and reported by Blitzer on CNN. ABC News said that Trump’s comment was in response to a question from Muir.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel in the investigation, Justice Department officials announced on Wednesday. The appointment puts Mueller at the head of the probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement at the time, the White House, on the President’s behalf, said, “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.”

He later, however, struck a different tone via Twitter, asking why there was never a special counsel appointed to investigate “all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration.” He also bemoaned the probe as “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.”

Thursday’s meeting wasn’t the first time Trump has privately addressed TV anchors and reporters. In November, shortly after winning the election, he called another off-the-record private gathering for top TV executives and anchors at Trump Tower.

More TV

  • Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

    Imagine TV Sets 'Mindscaping' as First China Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Television is developing “Mindscaping,” a 24-episode science fiction series written by Oscar Yang (“Medical Examiner Dr. Qin,” “The Ten Deadly Sins”). The series is the first Chinese-language series developed by Imagine Television, part of Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment group, for a Chinese audience. The show is pitched as an original sci-fi [...]

  • Jim PackerPRESS PLAY: Variety Home Entertainment

    FilMart: Lionsgate's Jim Packer Says Starz Brand is Ready for Global Rollout

    Ahead of his keynote address at Hong Kong’s FilMart this week, Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, shares his plans for Starz international expansion. And he recounts his experience of watching Netflix change up through the gears. Back in 2012, when Lionsgate was still casting “Orange is the New Black,” Jim [...]

  • "The Bow Tie Asymmetry" - Pictured:

    Pilot Season 2019: Multi-Camera Comedies Remain in High Demand

    For the second pilot season in a row, multi-camera comedies have proven to be a hot commodity. The Big 4 have collectively ordered 28 comedy pilots this year, including two animated straight-to-series orders at Fox. Of those 28, 12 are single-cams and 13 are multi-cams (including one multi-cam hybrid at ABC and two at CBS). [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Hollywood Agents Warn of Losses to Writers Without Packaging Fees

    The bitter war of words between Hollywood agents and writers continues. Agents are warning that the Writers Guild of America’s proposed elimination of television packaging fees will hurt writers to the tune of $49 million annually in commissions. Sources close to the Association of Talent Agents said Monday that the L.E.K. consulting firm has estimated   [...]

  • UFC 235 Mixed Martial Arts, Las

    All UFC Pay-Per-View Events Moving to ESPN+ Exclusively in U.S. Through 2025

    The UFC — in a major jump to digital away from traditional pay TV — inked an expanded pact with ESPN under which all of the mixed martial arts promoter’s pay-per-view events will be available exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. for the next seven years. Under the agreement, the ESPN+ subscription streaming service will [...]

  • Pretty Little Liars the Perfectionists Review

    TV Review: 'Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists' on Freeform

    Nearly every scene in “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” tells one specific story: This is a series that very much wants to be “Pretty Little Liars: All Grown Up.” It’s an interesting choice for a spinoff, considering the fact that the final season and a half of “Pretty Little Liars” featured a five-year time jump [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content