Trump cites CNN report, criticizes Mueller probe

After reading from an article that the judge in the Paul Manafort case said special counsel Robert Mueller's aim was to hurt President Trump, Trump said he loves fighting these battles.

Posted: May 5, 2018 11:27 PM
Updated: May 5, 2018 11:30 PM

President Donald Trump sought to reassure National Rifle Association members at their 2018 annual meeting Friday that their Second Amendment rights are safe in the midst of a national conversation on gun law reform.

"Thanks to your activism and dedication, you have an administration fighting to protect your Second Amendment and we will protect your Second Amendment," he said. "Your Second Amendment rights are under siege, but they will never ever be under siege as long as I am your president."

Speaking on a wide list of topics reminiscent of a 2016 Trump rally, the President touched on immigration, North Korea and Kanye West -- riffs that fired up the arena of NRA members, some of his strongest supporters during the election. Seeking to galvanize his base, he urged the crowd not to become "complacent" heading into the midterm elections.

"Don't be complacent. Don't be complacent," Trump urged the crowd. "History says that when you win the presidency, you get complacent. You know the feeling? Like 90% of the time you win the presidency and for whatever reason you lose the midterm. We can't let that happen. And the word is complacent."

"We cannot get complacent," Trump said again.

Still, Trump predicted that Republicans will do well in 2018, arguing "the Democrats are very concerned."

"You watch how well we do in '18, you watch," Trump said.

Russia investigation

Trump lamented the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling during his speech and referenced the case against Paul Manafort, while calling attention to a CNN article.

After referencing a CNN report about a federal judge's comments on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, Trump argued that the investigation is a "witch hunt" and praised his former campaign chairman as a "good person."

Trump quoted comments from a federal judge who suggested on Friday that the special counsel was aiming to hurt Trump by prosecuting Manafort, reassuring the crowd that he is actually enjoying fighting the investigation.

"Let me tell you folks, we're all fighting battles, but I love fighting these battles," Trump said.

Trump also once again downplayed Manafort's time at the helm of his campaign, saying he's "a nice guy, but you know he worked for me for a very short period of time -- like what, a couple months?"

"Manafort was there for a short while but he's a good person, I really believe he's a good person," Trump said.

Gun debate

This was Trump's fourth consecutive address to the NRA's annual meeting, but his first remarks to the group since the tragic Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that left 17 dead and sparked a national student-led push for gun law reform.

"The world is watching and we're going to come up with a solution," Trump assured a group of people affected by the nation's deadliest school shootings during an emotional White House listening session one week after the attack.

In a separate meeting with lawmakers following the shooting, Trump vowed to get tough on guns, potentially expanding background checks, taking guns away from the mentally ill, and raising the minimum age for purchase.

On Friday, Trump called attention to the "red flags" that were present before the Parkland school shooter carried out his attack.

"There has never been a case where more red flags have been shown," Trump said, as he promised his administration was "working to improve early warning systems."

Trump called attention to the modest measures he signed into law in the wake of the Parkland shooting, but made no mention of the series of changes he called for in its immediate wake, which the NRA opposed, such as raising the age of purchase for certain firearms, his calls for "comprehensive" gun law revisions and his support for expanding background checks.

Instead, he focused on the bill he signed into law which included $2 million in school safety funding and improvements in reporting to the background check system -- all measures supported by the NRA and applauded by the audience.

Trump said more needs to be done to "harden certain schools" and reiterated his support for "allowing highly trained teachers to carry concealed weapons" and for security guards in schools.

He also expressed his condolences to the family of Dallas police officer Rogelio Santander, who was killed in the line of duty last week.

The NRA spent more than $30 million to help elect Trump in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Center of Responsive Politics, and provided a boon of conservative bona fides at a time when Trump's candidacy was met with skepticism by many who doubted his conservative credentials.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 661673

Reported Deaths: 12573
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion906391639
Lake48389876
Allen35806635
Hamilton32056396
St. Joseph29947512
Elkhart25376414
Vanderburgh21245378
Tippecanoe20000201
Johnson16336359
Porter15957270
Hendricks15813300
Clark11946181
Madison11741316
Vigo11595229
Monroe10328161
Delaware9836179
LaPorte9761196
Howard9055197
Kosciusko8561109
Bartholomew7448147
Warrick7412150
Hancock7404131
Floyd7200169
Wayne6631191
Grant6424157
Morgan6084125
Boone608288
Dubois5903111
Dearborn547067
Cass544399
Marshall5423104
Henry542093
Noble509078
Jackson464566
Shelby460290
Lawrence4180112
Gibson401281
Harrison399663
Clinton395453
Montgomery386783
DeKalb385178
Knox357285
Miami357263
Whitley349136
Huntington343976
Steuben338155
Wabash331176
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White297352
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Greene261280
Posey260831
Wells258274
Scott250350
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Randolph225576
Spencer217130
Jennings215044
Washington211027
Sullivan203239
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Starke188051
Owen182153
Fulton178237
Jay177728
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush164722
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Franklin159435
Tipton146341
Parke139216
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Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
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Crawford90613
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7537
Union67110
Ohio53311
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 967422

Reported Deaths: 17297
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1118511208
Cuyahoga954841746
Hamilton73202970
Montgomery47226889
Summit40110957
Butler35435471
Lucas35217765
Stark29301840
Warren22361276
Lorain21952389
Mahoning19402543
Lake18358305
Clermont18327211
Delaware16415135
Licking14939200
Fairfield14491159
Trumbull14283462
Greene13548213
Medina13347219
Clark12223336
Wood11492193
Portage10982160
Allen10762235
Richland10250206
Miami10006190
Muskingum8153130
Columbiana8103182
Pickaway8033101
Tuscarawas8016236
Marion7979137
Wayne7848219
Erie6858184
Ross6123136
Geauga6051128
Hancock5979112
Ashtabula5937145
Scioto5920104
Lawrence523174
Union511252
Darke5025124
Belmont490989
Huron4781117
Jefferson4781108
Sandusky475996
Seneca4652103
Athens463133
Washington460587
Mercer4581101
Auglaize455099
Shelby440769
Knox401186
Putnam3984101
Madison391447
Ashland378495
Fulton377964
Defiance3711102
Brown369042
Crawford356696
Logan353259
Preble352571
Clinton339964
Highland327356
Ottawa322767
Williams301878
Jackson289256
Champaign285846
Guernsey285834
Fayette267844
Perry267543
Morrow259125
Henry245565
Hardin243957
Holmes2430104
Coshocton234547
Van Wert228849
Gallia221346
Adams215532
Pike214928
Wyandot209153
Hocking193549
Carroll180328
Paulding159723
Meigs134837
Noble128542
Monroe116136
Morgan100534
Harrison100432
Vinton76615
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