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01/02/2019 17:06 GMT | Updated 04/02/2019 09:38 GMT

5 Outtakes From Donald Trump's New York Times Article That Barely Make Sense

"Big, a big sleeper, she’s phenomenal."

Donald Trump gave a wide-ranging yet error-ridden interview to the New York Times on Thursday.

The transcript of the sit-down with White House correspondents Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman is a tough read, as the president veers off on tangents, jumping from one topic to another in characteristic style.

Here are five highlights from what was a ranging, rather surreal, interview.

On Roger Stone

Last week Roger Stone was charged by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion on a number of counts, including lying to Congress and obstructing the investigation.

He is a long-time associate of Trump and appears to have played a part in one of the most controversial aspects of the 2016 presidential campaign. 

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS via Getty Images
Roger Stone.

HABERMAN: “You saw that was in the indictment.”

TRUMP: “Can I tell you? I didn’t see it.”

Without skipping a beat, Trump then immediately implied he actually did see it.

TRUMP: “I know what was in the indictment if you read it, there was no collusion with Russia. But that’s in a lot of these things. And a lot of them are: They come in, they interview somebody and they get them for lying. I mean, you know.”

On the tower in Moscow

In November last year, the president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted he had covered up that he was negotiating a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump’s behalf during the heat of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michael Cohen.

Trump, who previously denied ever having business interests in Russia, has repeatedly sought to play down the importance of the deal.

He’s now saying it wasn’t business at all.

TRUMP: “The last thing I cared about was building a building.”

BAKER: “But you told people that you didn’t have any business there. People might have misunderstood.”

TRUMP: “That wasn’t business. Peter, that wasn’t business.”

On... something

Just before the interview, Trump had been hosting a delegation from China and when asked whether or not he was happy with his ever-changing line up of staff, reeled off a list of secretaries, including one whose strength appears to be her ability to sleep.

TRUMP: “So I wish you could have been here before. Because we had this whole side of the room with secretaries, every one of them. Sonny Perdue. Linda McMahon, big, a big sleeper, she’s phenomenal. Somebody said, she’s one of our best — you know and you don’t ever hear about her or anything. We had Mike Pompeo. We had all of our secretaries, many of our secretaries here, probably half of them.

“And then you had the China group over here, the delegation. And I’m looking and I’m saying these are really outstanding people. They’re outstanding. Did you notice that today? How outstanding? We have a lot of great people.

“Now I do tell the story about driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, you know. Because I’d been in Washington probably 17 times in my life. And on the 18th time, I was president of the United States. And you know, Washington wasn’t really my place. And I didn’t know people. I didn’t know a lot of people. And I got — I put some people in that I wasn’t happy with and I put some people in that I was very happy with.

“But we’ve gotten it very — you know, as I’ve — now I know a lot of people.”

On past presidents

TRUMP: “Just grab it. Reading material for the night. I’ve actually had, because they’ve done things that are artificial. So there’s been more of a burden on me than other presidents.

HABERMAN: “Past presidents have done things that were artificial?

TRUMP: “Past presidents, yeah. I think for the most part, yeah.”

On the media

Part of the conversation echoed the message contained in a tweet the president posted earlier on Thursday, relating to testimony given this week by his intelligence chiefs. 

The Canadian Press
CIA Director Gina Haspel.

On Wednesday the heads of the US intelligence community directly contradicted Trump’s stance on just about everything including Syria, Iran and North Korea.

After the briefing, Trump insulted all of them on Twitter, saying they were “wrong” and should “go back to school”.

But according to a later tweet and the New York Times interview, Trump had sat them all down and made them agree they were wrong after all. Sort of.

TRUMP: “But I said, ‘What is that all about? Second of all, third of all, you know how well we’re doing with North Korea, what’s that?’”

“They said, ‘Sir, our testimony was totally mischaracterised.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And when you read their testimony and you read their statements, it was mischaracterised by the media.”

HABERMAN: “The media mischaracterised it?”

At this point it’s worth noting that the intelligence chiefs’ testimony was broadcast live and uninterrupted.

TRUMP: “You know what I mean. Because when you read their statement, it’s not like it was portrayed in the media. Because I came in —

HABERMAN: “What did they think they were saying? What did they tell you that they were...”

TRUMP: “When you see what they said, and they’re, they’re — let’s put it this way. It was really very different when I read it. Because I came in here saying what is this? You mean you’re — because one of the things they said very strongly, according to, was that Iran is, essentially, a wonderful place. And I said, ‘It’s not a wonderful place, it’s a bad place, and they’re doing bad things.’”

“And they said, ‘We agree.’ I said, ‘What do you mean you agree. You can’t agree...’ And they said the testimony was totally mischaracterised.”