WASHINGTON, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Here are highlights of the Reuters Oval Office interview with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday. ON TURKEY’S DETENTION OF U.S. PASTOR “I think it’s very sad what Turkey’s doing. I think they’re making a terrible mistake. There’ll be no concessions. And, uh, Pastor Brunson will be a great patriot. OK?” ON ECONOMIC DAMAGE TO TURKEY POSSIBLY SPREADING “No I’m not concerned at all, I’m not concerned.” ON POSSIBILITY OF MORE SANCTIONS ON TURKEY “I like Turkey, I like the people of Turkey very much. Until now I had a very good relationship as you know with the president. I got along with him great, I had a very good relationship, but it can’t be a one-way street.”
ON POSSIBLY MEETING WITH IRAN’S LEADER “I didn’t say I would meet. ... If he wants to meet, fine. If he doesn’t want to meet, I could not care less. ... But I have not asked to meet.” ON WHETHER HE HAS A TIME FRAME TO END TRADE DISPUTES WITH CHINA “No. No time frame. I’m like them, I have a long horizon.” ON POSSIBLY MEETING WITH CHINESE PRESIDENT XI IN NOVEMBER “Maybe. I’m not sure that it’s been set up yet. We’ll see.” ON CHANCES FOR PROGRESS IN TRADE TALKS WITH CHINA THIS WEEK “I don’t anticipate anything coming out of it.” ON CHINA HELPING THE UNITED STATES WITH NORTH KOREA “They helped very much initially. They’re helping much less now. Because of trade.” ON HIS LAWYER, RUDY GIULIANI, WORRYING ABOUT A “PERJURY TRAP” IF TRUMP TALKS TO SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER “Well sure. He’s right because if I say something and a guy like Comey, who’s a proven liar - I mean he lied, he admitted he did. You take a look at what he did in Congress he said he gave - he leaked. He lied. So if I say something and he says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: ‘Well, I believe Comey,’ and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good.” ON HIS RECENT MEETING WITH RUSSIA’S PUTIN “It was only Fake News that criticized. ... We had a very good, I guess, close to two-hour meeting. We had another good meeting with a lot of our representatives there. We talked about Israel, we talked about insecurity for Israel, we talked about Syria, we talked about Ukraine.” “I mentioned Crimea, sure. I always mention Crimea whenever I mention Ukraine. Putin and I had a very good discussion. It was a very — I think it was a very good discussion for both parties. I mentioned the gas pipeline going to Germany.” ON WHETHER PUTIN ASKED TRUMP TO LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA “No, he did not. He never brought it up.”
ON WHETHER HE WOULD CONSIDER LIFTING SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA “No. I haven’t thought about it. But no, I’m not considering it at all. No. I would consider it if they do something that would be good for us. But I wouldn’t consider it without that. In other words, I wouldn’t consider it, even for a moment, unless something was go — we have a lot of things in common. We have a lot of things we can do good for each other. You have Syria. You have Ukraine. You have many other things. I think they would like economic development. And that’s a big thing for them.”
ON THE FED’S INDEPENDENCE AND HIS CHOICE OF JEROME POWELL TO BE FED CHAIRMAN “I don’t have an accommodating Fed. Am I happy with my choice? I’ll let you know in four years. I’ll let you know in seven years.” “I’m not thrilled with his raising of interest rates. No, I’m not thrilled. We’re at a - we’re negotiating very strongly - I don’t call it a trade war - we’re negotiating very powerfully and strongly with other nations. We’re going to win. But during this period of time, I should be given some help by the Fed.” ON WHETHER HE BELIEVES IN THE FED’S INDEPENDENCE “I believe in the Fed doing what’s good for the country.”
ON CHINA AND EUROPEAN UNION CURRENCIES “I think China is manipulating their currency, absolutely. And I think the euro is being manipulated also. ... And what they are doing is making up for the fact that they are now paying a lot for - hundreds of millions of dollars, and in some cases billions of dollars - into the United States Treasury - and so they’re being accommodated and I’m not, and I’ll still win.”
ON THE MIDDLE EAST “I’m constantly reviewing Afghanistan and the whole Middle East. We never should have been in the Middle East. It was the single greatest mistake in the history of our country.”
ON ISLAMIC STATE “We’ve defeated ISIS. ISIS is essentially defeated.”
ON BLACKWATER FOUNDER ERIK PRINCE PLAN TO PRIVATIZE AFGHANISTAN WAR “I’m not reviewing an Erik Prince plan.”
ON TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA’S KIM, PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS’ WORK “I met him three months ago. These guys have been working on it for 30 years. I stopped nuclear testing; I stopped missile testing. Japan is thrilled. What’s going to happen? Who knows. We’re going to see.” “Look, I have a good relationship with him. I like him. A lot of people will say: ‘How could you possibly like him?’ I get along with him very well; we have a good chemistry. I have a good chemistry with Putin, too.
ON POTENTIAL FOR ANOTHER MEETING WITH NORTH KOREAN LEADER “I don’t want to comment on that, but it’s most likely we will.” ON SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES SELF-REGULATING CONTENT ON THEIR SITES “I think it’s a very dangerous thing when they are their own regulator in terms of who’s going to be on Facebook and who’s going to be on Twitter. I think that whether it’s conservative or liberal, I think that it’s very dangerous.” (Editing by Peter Cooney)
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