President Trump blamed the US Federal Reserve's recent stock market pullbacks and closures this week in an interview on Tuesday, thereby evading any personal responsibility for the cracks in the economy and saying that he "is not even a little happy" his central bank president chosen by hand.
In a lengthy and sometimes jarring 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained widely of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. "Jay" Powell, whom he had proposed earlier this year. He argued that rising interest rates and other Fed policies had hurt the economy – as evidenced by this week's announcement by GM to lay off 15% of its workforce – despite the fact that insisted that he was not afraid of a recession.
"I'm doing business and I'm not accommodated by the Fed," said Trump. "They make a mistake because I have an instinct, and my intestine tells me more sometimes that someone else's brain can never tell me."
He added, "To this day, I'm not even happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little. And I do not blame anyone, but I just tell you that I think the Fed is not up to what it does. "
Trump also rejected the federal government's historic report released last week, which said the damage caused by global warming was intensifying across the country. The president said that "I do not see" climate change attributable to man and that he did not believe in the scientific consensus.
"One of the issues that concerns many people, like me, is that we have a very high level of intelligence, but we are not necessarily such believers," Trump said. "You look at our air and our water, and it's right now at a record of cleanliness."
The president added about climate change: "In terms of whether it's man-made and if the effects you're talking about are there, I do not see it."
Trump's comments were most detailed about his disagreement with the terrible national climate assessment released Friday by his own administration that climate change poses a serious threat to the health and financial security of Americans, as well as to infrastructure and infrastructure. the country. natural resources.
Sitting behind the Resolute Office in the Oval Office, Trump also threatened to cancel his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a world summit this week because of the maritime conflict pitting Russia against the United States. ;Ukraine. He said he was waiting Tuesday night for a "full report" from his national security team on Russia's capture of three Ukrainian warships and their crews in the Black Sea on Sunday.
"It will be very decisive," said Trump. "Maybe I will not have the meeting. Maybe I will not even have the meeting. . . . I do not like this aggression. I do not want this attack at all. "
Trump again questioned the CIA's assessment that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia had ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to The Post, and had taken into account the denials repeated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his decision to maintain a close alliance with the oil rich. desert kingdom.
"Maybe he's done it and maybe he's not done it," Trump said. "But he denies it. And the people around him deny it. And the CIA also did not claim that he had done so, from elsewhere. I'm not saying that they say he did not, but they did not say so in the affirmative. "
The CIA estimated that Mohammed had ordered the killing of Khashoggi and informed lawmakers and the White House, according to people close to the case. Intelligence assessments are rarely, if ever, unmoved, and Trump has repeatedly pointed out that there is no evidence that would irrefutably lead to blame for Mohammed.
But the CIA based its overall assessment of Muhammad's role on a number of compelling evidence, including intercepted communications; surveillance from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where Khashoggi was killed in October; and the agency's analysis of the total control of Muhammad over the Saudi government.
At the same time, Trump said he had "no intention" to take steps to stop the investigation of the special advocate Robert S. Mueller III on Russia's interference in the elections. 2016.
"The Mueller inquiry is what it is. It goes on and on, "said Trump. When asked if he would commit to allowing the probe to continue until his conclusion, he refrained from making an explicit commitment.
"This question has been asked about me for almost two years now," said the president. Councilor Kellyanne Conway then replied: "A thousand times".
Trump continued, "And meanwhile, he's still here. He would not need to be, but he's still there, so I have no intention of doing anything.
The president refused to officially discuss the Mueller team's accusation that former Trump campaign director Paul Manafort violated his plea agreement by repeatedly lying to the investigators.
Trump also launched the idea of removing US troops from the Middle East, citing the lower price of oil as a reason for withdrawal.
"Now, are we going to stay in this part of the world? One of the reasons is Israel, "said Trump. "Oil is becoming less of a reason because we are producing more oil now than we have ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden, you do not have to stay there. "
Trump also described as "very sad" the killing of three US soldiers during an explosion at the edge of a road in Afghanistan this week. He claimed that he was maintaining the military presence in Afghanistan only because "experts" had told him that the United States should continue to fight there.
The president said he planned to visit troops in the area, perhaps before Christmas.
"At the right time, I will do it," Trump said of a visit to a war zone, which would be his first as president.
Brady Dennis, Anne Gearan, Shane Harris and Damian Paletta contributed to this report.