Trump open to son testifying in Russia inquiries, and other things reporters learned from his Air Force One visit
President Donald Trump is open to his eldest son testifying before Congress to address questions about Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
"If he wants to," Trump told reporters traveling on Air Force One Wednesday night when asked if he supported his son testifying.
Trump's comment came as top Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill signaled they would likely call on Donald Trump Jr. to testify after the younger Trump disclosed emails showing he was eager to obtain incriminating information on Hillary Clinton from someone described as a "Russian government attorney."
The comment was just one of several the President made Wednesday night on Air Force One during an hour-long conversation with reporters traveling with him to Paris.
The President's stop by the press cabin was initially ruled off-the-record -- a common practice spanning several administrations designed to give reporters insight into the President's thinking -- but the White House agreed Thursday afternoon to put excerpts of the comments on the record after Trump said he wanted them to be publicized.
Here are some of the highlights of the excerpts of his gaggle with reporters aboard Air Force One:
1. Health care is tough ... tougher than Middle East peace?
"I'd say the only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and the Palestinians is health care. It's like this narrow road that about a quarter of an inch wide," Trump said.
Even as he signaled that "I think we're going to get something that's really good," Trump lamented the tricky politics of wrangling 50 Senate Republicans to back the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare making its way through the Senate.
"You get a couple here and you say, 'great,' and then you find out you just lost four over here. Health care is tough," said the President, who is also pushing a Middle East peace initiative.
2. Meeting(s) with Putin
Trump addressed still-lingering questions about his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20.
But his comments offered little more clarity on whether he accepted the Russian president's denials of Russian government meddling in the 2016 presidential election, which the US intelligence community has ruled a fact.
Putin and his foreign minister claimed that Trump accepted the denials.
On Air Force One, Trump said: "I said to him, were you involved with the meddling in the election? He said, absolutely not. I was not involved. He was very strong on it. I then said to him again, in a totally different way, were you involved with the meddling. He said, I was not -- absolutely not."
Pressed again on whether he told Putin he believed him, Trump offered:
"I asked him, were you involved? He said, very strongly -- said to him a second time -- totally different -- were you involved? Because we can't let that happen. And I mean, whether it's Russia or anybody else, we can't let there be even a scintilla of doubt when it comes to an election. I mean, I'm very strong on that," Trump said. "I said, look, we can't -- we can't have -- now, he said absolutely not twice. What do you do? End up in a fistfight with somebody, OK? Because then I brought up Syria."
Trump also said he likely will invite Putin to the White House -- just not yet.
"I would say yes, yeah. At the right time. I don't think this is the right time, but the answer is yes I would," Trump said.
3. Border wall -- or, perhaps, fence?
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