Donald Trump said Saturday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team are targeting him with ‘bulls***.’
‘We’re waiting for a report by people who weren’t elected,’ he complained in a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
‘Unfortunately you put the wrong people in a couple of positions, and they leave people for a long time that shouldn’t be there. And all of the sudden they’re trying to take you out with bulls***, okay?’
Trump was talking about the special counsel and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed him at the Justice Department.
The president also vented at the media for taking him seriously in 2016 when he joked that he wanted Russians to release Hillary Clinton’s tens of thousands of deleted emails to the public.
And he announced that he will soon sign an executive order requiring colleges that receive federal dollars to apply First Amendment speech protections on campus.
But his most aggressive words were reserved for people in his own Justice Department who he believes have been out to get him since before Inauguration Day.
‘Robert Mueller never received a vote. And neither did the person that appointed him,’ he stabbed.
President Donald Trump claimed Saturday that the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are ‘targeting’ him ‘with bull***t’
Trump took the stage at the annual CPAC convention near Washington, hugging a U.S. flag before launching into an unscripted speech that had thousands on their feet
Trump complained that Mueller (left) was targeting him despite not being elected to anything, and jabbed Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein (right) for appointing him
The president mocked his first attorney general Jeff Sessions for handing the Russia investigation to Rosenstein by recusing himself from the probe early on without telling Trump of his plans.
‘And as you know, the attorney general says, “I’m gonna recuse myself”,’ Trump snarked in full southern drawl.
‘And I said, “Why the hell didn’t he tell me that before I put him in?” How do you recuse yourself?’
Sessions said at the time that he couldn’t supervise the probe because he had himself advised Trump’s campaign on foreign policy.
Trump angrily denounced the Washington ‘swamp’ that he believes has tried to kneecap him from the day he took office.
‘But we’re winning and they’re not,’ he said.
The Russia probe, now more than two years old, began as a counterintelligence investigation into still unproven claims that Trump’s campaign plotted with Russian agents to tilt the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
On Saturday he slapped at Democrats in Congress for keeping the story alive while he insists there was ‘no collusion.’
Thousands of conservatives like these Trump fans packed the main ballroom of the largest hotel in the Washington, D.C. metro area to see the president speak
Trump blasted socialism, the mass-media and the ‘Green New Deal’ – although he joked that he hoped Democrats continue to promote it
He also mocked House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff as ‘little shifty Schiff’ for expanding the scope of the investigation to a deep-dive into his personal finances.
‘They don’t have anything with Russia. There’s no collusion,’ he said. ‘So now they morph into “Let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done. We’re going to go into his finances. We’re going to check his deals. We’re going to check” – these people are sick.’
The president announced Saturday that he will soon sign an executive order ‘requiring colleges and universities to support free speech.’
‘If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they have to allow … all people to speak. And if they don’t, it will be very costly,’ he said.
He shared the podium with Hayden Williams, a University of California Berkeley student who was the victim of a physical assault last month at the hands of a man who objected to his politics.
‘That was a hell of a hard punch,’ Trump said of the video that rocketed around the world, and rejoiced that the young man ‘got yourself a great lawyer.’
‘Sue the college, the university, and maybe sue the state,’ he urged.
‘He took a hard punch in the face for all of us,’ Trump said, predicting that Williams is ‘going to be a very wealthy young man.’
Trump had his crowd in thrall, mocking ‘fake news’ reporters trapped in a roped-off ballroom section between endless rows of seats and a standing-room section.
He recalled a July 2016 press conference in Florida where he railed against Hillary Clinton for deleting tens of thousands of her personal emails before giving the State Department the rest of what had resided on a home-brew, unsecured server.
‘Russia, if you’re listening,’ he said that day, ‘I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’
At the time, according to the FBI, Clinton’s private server had been offline for more than a year.
On Saturday he insisted, as he has before, that he was joking.
But Trump said ‘fake news’ reporters would never allow him to be humorous ‘if you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena – and if you say something like, “Russia! Please! If you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails! Please, Russia, please! Please get us the emails! Please!”‘
Chants of ‘Lock her up!’ broke out – a favorite anti-Clinton campaign chant among Trump supporters who believe Clinton should have been prosecuted for mishandling classified material on her server.
‘So everyone is having a good time, I’m laughing, we’re all having a good time and having fun,’ Trump recalled. ‘And then that fake CNN and others say, “He asked Russia to go get the emails. Horrible!”‘
‘These people are sick,’ he said. ‘And I’m telling you, they know the game. They know the game and they play it dirty, dirtier than anybody’s ever played the game. Dirtier than it has ever been played.’
Trump also predicted his own re-election on Saturday.
‘What we did in 2016, “The Election” we call it, with a capital E, ‘it’s never been done before,’ Trump said. ‘And I think we’re going to do it again in 2020.’
‘I think we’re going to do even better in 2020,’ he said, projecting Electoral College numbers like ‘nobody has seen in a long time.’
‘Our movement and our future in this country is unlimited,’ he told a sea of engaged conservatives, some of whom came from as far as Hawaii to the largest hotel in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.
He said his victory over Hillary Clinton, and the resulting changes in D.C., are ‘driving the other side crazy.’
Trump adopted a southern drawl to mock his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation in 2017
The president vented at the media for taking him seriously in 2016 when he joked that he wanted Russians to release Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails to the public
Trump’s speech capped a tempest-tossed week that included his former lawyer calling him a criminal in scorching congressional testimony and the sudden collapse of talks at a tense North Korea nuclear summit.
Trump issued a self-promoting tweet Saturday morning but didn’t offer a preview of his speech.
‘Record crowd, live broadcast. Enjoy!’ he boasted.
He took the stage Saturday to a full playing of Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the U.S.A.,’ his unofficial rally anthem, and physically hugged a U.S. flag.
The commander-in-chief was the exclamation point on three days of red-meat speeches at CPAC, an event hosted annually since 1974 by the American Conservative Union.
ACU chairman Matt Schlapp introduced Trump, praising him as ‘working, for free, in a last-ditch attempt to get this country on the right path. And you know what else? He beats the left at their own game.’
Schlapp’s wife, Mercedes Schlapp, is Trump’s White House director of strategic communications.
The ACU said Saturday that more than 9,200 people attended its convention in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., including about 2,600 students.
President Trump’s image was everywhere at CPAC this week, including a mural-sized painting on display
CPAC is an annual convention held since 1974; This year it brought more than 9,200 people to a hotel in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.
They watched Vice President Mike Pence and a host of senators lobbing Trump soft alley-oops in speech after speech, targeting the leftward-drifting Democratic Party for what Republicans say is an embrace of socialism.
Democrats, Pence said Friday, have taken a ‘hard left turn’ as the political calendar becomes an exercise in forecasting the 2020 elections.
‘Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the last century. That system is socialism,’ he declared.
Voters will choose next year ‘between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence,’ the vice president continued, warning that a Venezuela-style collapse could, improbably, visit itself on the U.S.
‘This is the choice we face in the next 20 months,” he said.
Bloggers mixed with reporters iun the CPAC ballroom on Saturday, with some chanting ‘We Want Trump!’ along with the bulging crowd
The Trump 2020 campaign did a brisk business at CPAC, selling everything from t-shirts and hats to playing cards and ‘Build the Wall and Crime will Fall’ merchandise
The three-day convention in Oxon Hill, Maryland was a Trump-fest even as the president was half a world away in Vietnam for most of it
The packed CPAC ballroom seemed to enlarge on Friday for Trump’s appearance, with the press area moving forward by 40 feet to accommodate a standing-room-only section teeming with ‘Make America Great Again’ caps in the rear.
The president has dominated America’s media landscape for the past four years, dictating news cycles through his Twitter account and changing the subject of the nation’s fascination at will every time he speaks on camera.
Saturday’s barn-burner served to shine a bright light on what his base wanted to hear – and away from his woes that monopolized front pages and TV news chyrons all week.
Michael Cohen set a dire tone on Wednesday with political-theater testimony before the Democratic-run House Oversight and Reform Committee, claiming under oath that Trump is a ‘racist,’ a ‘conman’ and a business ‘cheat’ who he saw using ‘mobster’ tactics for a decade.
A man wore this pro-Trump t-shirt at CPAC on Friday, channeling the sentiment of attendees
CPAC visitors this week could pose for pictures behind a replica of the White House Briefing Room podium made famous by Saturday Night Linve’s lampoon of former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer
Cohen, who will report to prison in May for three years, has already pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in the past, and to making hush-money payments to silence two women who claim to be past Trump mistresses.
Officials in New York disbarred Cohen on Tuesday. The twist of Democrats publicly lionizing the convicted perjurer in a public setting after he swore an oath to tell the truth, polarized Americans at a moment when Trump was preparing for a summit with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un.
That meeting, the two leaders’ second in two years, failed to produce an agreement to trade sanctions relief for the denuclearization of North Korea.