We begin today at Mar-a-Lago Estate in Palm Beach, Florida with former President Donald Trump. Thank you for joining us.
Donald Trump: Thank you.
Sharyl: You are so far the favorite, of course, to become the Republican nominee. Who do you think you'll be running against?
Trump: I don't see Biden making it to the gate. I've been watching him. He can't put two sentences together. He's having a hard time, and I don't see it. I don't see it, but maybe I'll run against him. I'd like to run against him, but I wouldn't mind some others also.
Sharyl: Who do you think it might be?
Trump: Well, probably the same five people that they talk about all the time. You know, usually it works out that way, and it's probably — I think it's probably gonna be Biden, believe it or not, but such a bad job he's doing for our country. He's destroying our country.
Sharyl: A Rasmussen poll just found that one in three Democrats said they might vote for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. if he were to leave the Democrat party and run is an Independent. Pretty big number. What do you think about a third-party candidate, particularly RFK Jr.?
Trump: Well, I don't know. I'd have to look a little bit at the polling. You know, they do polling on that stuff, which shouldn't — and I'm sort of a fan of polling, especially lately because we're leading everybody, including Biden, by a lot. I like him a lot. I've known him for a long time. He's very much a libertarian in a certain way. And I think I have certain qualities along those lines too, if you want to know the truth. I think he's — you know, I think they're really treating him badly if you... he's doing okay. He's not doing, look, he's at 11 or 12% against Biden, which isn't, you know, so great. But it's, it's okay. But they're treating him so badly, what they're making him go through. And I don't know if he gets to the gate because they're almost making it that he's not gonna be able to, you know, they're not going to count his votes. They basically are unbelievable election cheaters. That's what they do better than anybody. That's about the only thing they do well. But they're giving him a hard time. So we'll see if he runs as an Independent, I don't know. I think he'd do fine.
Sharyl: Do you see any scenario where you would work with him? I asked him the question about you, and he had some nice things to say about you, but also said he thinks you have different leadership styles. He doesn't see running with you, but a lot of people suggested that'd be a good ticket.
Trump: Look, I could see having something to do with him into the future. You know, I think, uh, I like him. You know, I've known him a long time. I've really known him. He was a big environmentalist with the Hudson River and with all this. And he actually came against me on one or two deals that I was doing — big projects. And he was, you know, from the environmental standpoint, but he was more reasonable than some. I've always gotten along with him pretty well. He said that Biden better practice up in the debates. He was very complimentary about my debating skills. I don't know if he is right or wrong, but he gave me a lot of good compliments. We'll see what happens with him. He's got a hard time going with the Democrats because they're really — they're making it so that if he gets votes, they're not even gonna count them. I've never seen anything like that one.
Sharyl: Well, speaking of that, 56% of likely voters say they think it's likely that cheating will affect the 2024 presidential election, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey.
Trump: Pretty sad.
Sharyl: Do you think that's the case? And if so, what's changed since 2020 that will make your outcome, in your view, different?
Trump: I think the Republicans learned a lesson. If you look at — and by the way, that's of all voters. Is that right? Is that of all voters?
Sharyl: Yes. Likely voters, yep.
Trump: Well, because, of the Republican voters, it's in the 80s that think the election was rigged. I mean literally rigged, as opposed to just pure cheating. Yeah, they're gonna try and cheat. They'll probably cheat. The way you win is by swamping them. They cheat, and nobody's ever seen anything like it. But I believe that we have something happening now that is very strong, in addition to having safeguards that nobody ever even thought about when we ran in 2020. Because you know, we did much better in 2020 than we did in 2016. A lot of people don't know that, Sharyl. We got 63 million votes, and then we got almost 75 million votes. And that's very unusual for a president. Usually, they go down the second; I mean second time.
Sharyl: And that was more than any sitting president in history. American president.
Trump: No sitting president's ever come close. And no sitting president's ever gotten anywhere near that number of votes up from the first election. Oftentimes, like with Obama, he got far fewer votes the second time. But he won. But he got far fewer votes. I got — I was told that if I get the 63 million we got the first time, there's nobody that can beat you. And we got much more. And look, I don't know how your network feels about it, how your people feel about it, and you can cut it out if you want. We had a rigged election very, very simply. We had a rigged election.
Sharyl: My network doesn't have any feelings about cutting something out.
Trump: Good. Then you'll leave it. Good. I like that better.
Sharyl: On weaponization and censorship — weaponization of our federal agencies. Big issue for many people.
Sharyl: Former Director of National Intelligence Clapper and former CIA Director Brennan have been named to some new advisory group under Homeland Security called the Homeland Intelligence Experts Group. These are two men who were drivers behind the disinformation on the Russia collusion story, and behind disinformation on the Biden laptop. What do you make of this development?
Trump: Well, they want to try and cheat again. I believe that they will try to cheat. They can't help it.
Sharyl: So the U.S. has committed, had committed more than $43 billion in security assistance, such as weapons and munitions to Ukraine. Congress approved $113 billion. President Biden approved or is asking for $24 billion more. A CNN poll found a majority of Americans — 55% — say Congress should not authorize more funds for Ukraine. Where do you stand on the money issue for Ukraine?
Trump: Well, I stand on a very simple issue. I want that war stopped. That war would never have started. Putin would've never done it, with me as president. I want the death to stop. It should have never started. It would've never, ever started. As sure as you're sitting there, it would've never started. And I would speak to Putin about that a lot. It was the apple of his eye. There was no question about it. I said, you're not gonna do it, because if you do it, the consequences. And I told him what the consequences were. And he said, you would never do that. I said, oh, you better not. You better not try me. I will do it. And he probably didn't believe me, but he believed me 10%. And he wouldn't have done it. But you know, he wouldn't have done it for another reason. I had oil at $40 a barrel. He wouldn't have been able to afford it when oil went up to $115, and now it's gonna be close to $100 right. Now, again, here we go again. The gasoline's $5 a gallon. Here we go. He makes so much money. It's for prosecuting a war. You know, usually at war you — a lot of bad things happen, but you also lose a lot of money. He's making, he's making a fortune. I would've never had the oil above $40 a barrel. And if it's not above $40 a barrel, he can't afford the war. So number one, he wouldn't have done it because of me. Just wouldn't have done it. It wouldn't have happened. You didn't even have to bring up the oil situation. But because of the oil price, it was, you know, it was something that he had plenty of money to do. And now he has it again because we're up so high. You know, if you take a look at what's happening with oil, it's going up rapidly again, very rapidly.
Sharyl: This week at a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Congressman Massey said something like, Elon Musk was a Democrat who admitted supporting Biden, but became a critic and exposed the censorship regime. Now, the DOJ has opened two investigations of Elon Musk. These look like mafia tactics. And then Musk tweeted or "X-ed" that "Meanwhile, many actual crimes, some of great significance, go not merely unpunished, but not even investigated. Something is rotten." A lot of Americans do think there is a dual system of justice that they're witnessing in many cases. How do you attack something — if that's true — that's that deeply rooted and big. You can't just, I think, go into office and make a couple of changes, or even try to make big changes, when you're facing opposition in these agencies.
Trump: So you need great people. I had great people, but I had some bad ones too. Bill Barr was a stiff. And Sessions didn't do the job. He was afraid. Barr was afraid of being impeached. He became terrible because he was so afraid of being impeached. He would sit and say they want to impeach me. I said, what's wrong with that? They impeached me twice. My numbers went up. My numbers actually went up very substantially. And then I got indicted four times. Nobody's ever been four times. I don't think they'd let it happen again because the numbers went up. This is a great honor. It's never happened. When you get indicted, your numbers go down. I got indicted, my numbers went up substantially because the American people know it's a fake indictment.
Sharyl: Back with more from Donald Trump in just a moment.
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