President Trump said he believes special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election makes the United States "look very bad."
“It makes the country look very bad, and it puts the country in a very bad position,” Trump said of the probe during an interview with the New York Times on Thursday. “So the sooner it’s worked out, the better it is for the country.”
Trump also said he believes he will be cleared by the investigation, repeatedly insisted "no collusion" has been discovered by the inquiry, and once again stressed that he has no plans to shut down Mueller's operation.
His statements contrast those made by some Republicans, who in recent weeks have called on Mueller to end the investigation. Even Trump's lawyers predicted earlier this year the investigation would be over by Thanksgiving.
“There’s been no collusion. But I think he’s going to be fair,” Trump said of Mueller.
Recently, anti-Trump texts were discovered between a former investigator on Mueller's team and his alleged mistress — both of whom are FBI employees — which ratcheted up GOP criticism of the investigation.
Trump also distanced himself from his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was recently indicted by a grand jury impaneled as part of Mueller's probe, has pleaded not guilty, and could be facing more charges.
“Paul only worked for me for a few months,” Trump told the Times. “Paul worked for Ronald Reagan. His firm worked for John McCain, worked for Bob Dole, worked for many Republicans for far longer than he worked for me. And you’re talking about what Paul was many years ago before I ever heard of him. He worked for me for — what was it, three and a half months?”
Trump was interviewed by the Times in the Grill Room at Trump International Golf Club. He is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.