President Trump began his press conference Thursday afternoon naming his new nominee for labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta. He then moved on to a range of topics, from the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser and U.S. relations with Russia, to an upcoming executive action on immigration.
He also blasted the media and leaks from within his administration and again touted his electoral victory, while misrepresenting the size of it.
Trump said that he didn't direct resigned national security adviser Michael Flynn to talk about U.S. sanctions on Russia in a pre-inauguration phone call Flynn had with Russia's U.S. ambassador, but he would have.
"I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence," Trump said of Flynn misleading the then-vice president-elect about the true nature of Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador. But, he added, "Mike [Flynn] was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn't doing it. I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him because that's his job."
Flynn was interviewed by the FBI about his conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A source familiar with the matter has told NPR's Carrie Johnson that a criminal charge against Flynn in connection with what he told the FBI is unlikely.
Asked at the news conference about reports that members of the Trump staff were in contact with Russia during the campaign, Trump said, "Nobody that I know of." The source has told Carrie that authorities continue to investigate those alleged connections.
Journalists across NPR have annotated Trump's remarks.