Trump Campaigns For First Time Since The Mueller Report Was Handed In
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
President Trump is taking a victory lap tonight at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. This is Trump's first campaign rally since Attorney General William Barr released a summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. That summary said Mueller found no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The Russian hoax is finally dead.
TRUMP: The collusion delusion is over.
CORNISH: NPR's Tamara Keith is at that rally and joins us now. And Tam, as we heard, the president addressed the Russia investigation. I know - I believe he's still speaking. Can you talk about what else...
TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Yes.
CORNISH: ...He had to say?
KEITH: Yeah, so he talked a lot about the Russia investigation, and he was in a good mood talking about it. And then he also turned to sort of go after some of the people who he said were pushing it the hardest, including the congressman - the Democratic congressman who's the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Here's a little bit of that.
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TRUMP: Our country was hurt. Our country was hurt. And they're on artificial respirators right down. There getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, little pencil-neck Adam Schiff.
KEITH: And his criticism of Schiff went on from there, saying that, you know, there needs to be accountability for people who led these investigations. It's worth saying that at this point, there's only been a four-page summary of the Mueller report that has been released by the attorney general. The full report has not been released yet.
CORNISH: Before the rally, you were able to talk to some people waiting in line. What did they have to say about the Mueller report?
KEITH: Well, they want it released. You know, pretty much universally the folks that I talked to - they were excited about what they see as the result. And they said that it's time to get it out. I spoke with Coleen Boyer, Lichelle Bunn and John DeGroot.
COLEEN BOYER: (Laughter) I really don't care. I think it was a waste of $25 million, but...
LICHELLE BUNN: No one's going to be satisfied until - well, you know what? No one's going to be satisfied, period, anyway.
JOHN DEGROOT: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. Everything out in the open. All this stuff should be released on the policy (ph).
KEITH: And of course that's the position that is most clearly pushed by Democrats who say they want the full report released. But in talking to folks here, a lot of people feel like why not just release it because they think it's going to be good and helpful for the president.
CORNISH: In the meantime, the White House this week moved onto other issues. They change course on a Texas lawsuit on Obamacare, deciding to support the whole Affordable Care Act being struck down in the courts. Did the president talk about this or other topics at the rally?
KEITH: Yeah, I mean, it took about 45 minutes into his speech, which is still going, to get to the Obamacare part. But then he had a lot to say. He said, we have another chance of killing Obamacare - is what he said. He alluded to John McCain doing a thumbs down on the previous repeal and replace effort, and then he turned to talking about the Democrats. And we're going to hear a lot of this in the in the days and weeks and months ahead - describing Democrats as pushing socialist government-run health care, which is, he says, in contrast to what Republicans would do.
CORNISH: And in the background, we heard people chanting four more years, right? So this state is part of his re-election strategy.
KEITH: Absolutely. It was critical to his win in 2016. He narrowly won Michigan, and it is not a surprise that the state that he visited the very last rally is now one of his first rallies as he's turning towards re-election.
CORNISH: That's NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Tamara, thank you.
KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.