MIDTOWN, Manhattan — Donald Trump sat down Tuesday for a meeting with New York Times reporters at their midtown headquarters.
The meeting continued even after the President-elect took to Twitter a few hours before to say he wouldn't sit down with the newspaper because "the terms and conditions of the meeting were changed at the last moment."
The newspaper live-tweeted the lunchtime interview on its website. The meeting included the Times' top editors and managers, some of its White House and presidential campaign reporters, op-ed writers, and members of Trump's team, including aide Kellyanne Conway and Reince Preibus, who was recently appointed Trump's White House chief of staff.
Here are the highlights of the meeting, which lasted just over an hour.
- Trump distanced himself from the alt-right movement, saying he does not want to "energize" the group. Video emerged over the weekend of an alt-right group meeting in Washington during which members appeared to give a Nazi salute to the President-elect after the leader shouts, "Hail Trump."
- After promising throughout his campaign to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton related to her private email server, Trump said he was not interested in pursuing further investigations. "It's not just something that I feel very strongly about," Trump told the Times. He said the issue has been looked at "ad nauseum" and it was time to "go forward." "“I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said.
- Trump told the Times there would be no conflict of interest in running his business and the country at the same time. "The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest." He said he plans on putting the Trump Organization in the hands of his kids while he serves as president.
- Trump defended Steve Bannon, his pick of White House chief strategist and senior counselor. "If I thought he was a racist or alt-right or any of the things, the terms we could use, I wouldn't even think about hiring him," Trump told the NYT. Trump also backed Breitbart News, which Bannon formerly was CEO, as "just a publication" that covers stories like any other news organization.
- "I think there is some connectivity" between human activity and climate change, Trump said. Throughout his campaign, Trump said he would withdraw from an international agreement on climate change, but told the NYT he would keep "an open mind" about it.
- Trump said Republican leaders in Congress — Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — are "in love with me."
- The meeting at the White House between Trump and President Obama just days after the election was the first time the two had ever met, Trump told the newspaper. "I think he's looking to do absolutely the right thing for the country in terms of transition," Trump said. "I really liked him a lot." Trump says Obama highlighted one problem in particular that was plaguing the nation, but the President-elect refused to tell the Times what that was.