President Trump declared Friday that he was justified attacking Nancy Pelosi because she fired first, asserted that his administration would get to the bottom of the Russia “hoax” and said he hadn’t decided whether to pardon accused US war criminals.
Asked about an edited video he shared on Twitter that showed Pelosi, 79, stumbling over her words, the president denied that he knew the video had been doctored, as critics have charged — and lashed out at the question.
“This just shows how fake you and the news are. When you say, when you say a personal attack. Did you hear what she said about me long before I went after her? Did you hear?” Trump said as he departed the White House to board Marine One for the first leg of his trip to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
It wasn’t clear exactly which statements Trump was referencing, but the House speaker said this week that Trump was engaged in a “cover-up” by stonewalling Congress and on Thursday called for his family or staff to stage an “intervention,” suggesting the 72-year-old president was off his rocker.
He also doubled down on his take that Pelosi was the one whose mental capacity should be questioned.
“Look, you think Nancy is the same as she was? She’s not,” he said, while adding, “Maybe we can all say that.”
Trump also repeated that Congress can’t legislate at the same time, so lawmakers would have to wrap up their probes into him before they can work on bi-partisan legislation with the GOP — a charge Democrats called ridiculous.
He then said he ordered a trove of documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe to find out about the evolution of the investigation.
“Everything that he needs is declassified,” he said, referring to Attorney General Bill Barr, who is overseeing a review of the probe into Russian election meddling.
“And they will be able to see how this hoax, how the hoax or witch hunt started and why it [was] an attempted takedown of the president of the United States. And you’re going to learn a lot. I hope it’s going to be nice, but perhaps it won’t be,” he continued.
“They want to do a redo of the Mueller report. It’s over. There is no redo. They lost. It’s very clear. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction so there’s no redo.”
And he said he had not decided whether to pardon a number of US servicemen accused of war crimes, including Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL team leader who is awaiting court-martial on charges he shot unarmed civilians and stabbed a defenseless teenager while helping Iraqi forces fight ISIS in 2017.
“We’re looking at a lot of different pardons for a lot of different people. Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long, you know. We teach them how to be great fighters and when they fight sometimes they get treated really unfairly so we’re going to take a look at it,” the commander in chief said.
“I haven’t made any decisions. There’s two or three of them right now. It’s a little bit controversial. It’s very possible that I’ll let the trials go on and I’ll make my decision after the trial,” he said.
A number of former military brass have criticized the decision, noting that it was the military itself that brought the charges against Gallagher and others.
“Absent evidence of innocence or injustice the wholesale pardon of US servicemembers accused of war crimes signals our troops and allies that we don’t take the Law of Armed Conflict seriously,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, President Barack Obama’s senior military adviser, tweeted Wednesday.
“Bad message. Bad precedent. Abdication of moral responsibility. Risk to us.”