Transcript for Breaking down President Trump's unprecedented press conference
It was part press conference, part performance art, as president trump went on an epic offensive today, insulting the press for what he calls fake news. Denying any chaos or wrongdoing in his administration. Instead, pointing fingers at the intelligence community, vowing to investigate illegal leaks of classified information. ABC's David Wright asks, was he on point, or out of bounds? Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States. Reporter: Today the presidential press conference, that August American tradition. Quiet, quiet. Quiet. Reporter: Entered the era of trump. It's all fake news. It's all fake news. Reporter: He didn't so much confer with reporters -- Where are you from? Bbc. There's another beauty. That's a good line. Impartial, free and fair. Yeah, sure. Just like CNN, right? Reporter: He made it crystal clear, he views them with contempt. Tomorrow they will say Donald Trump rants and raves at the press conference. I'm not ranting and raving, I'm just telling you, you're dishonest people. But I'm not ranting and raving. I love this, I'm having a good time doing it. Reporter: Trump took on the impression his administration is off to a rocky start. I S I see stories of chaos, but it's the exact opposite. This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Reporter: If anyone doesn't believe that, it's the news media's fault, not his, according to trump. The media is trying to attack our administration, because they know we are following through on pledges that we made and they're not happy about it. For forever reason. Reporter: Was this Donald Trump unleashed or Donald Trump unhingeed? I think it was a bit of both. I think that it was a look inside the mind of the president, just less than four weeks into the administration. Reporter: Asked repeatedly about whether any campaign officials or advisers had spoken to the Russians, even after U.S. Intelligence agencies accused Russia of Mettling in the election -- Russia is a ruse. I have nothing to do with Russia. Haven't made a phone call to Russia in years, don't speak to people from Russia, not that I wouldn't, I just have nobody to speak to. Reporter: Trump would not give an inch. Russia is fake news. This is fake news put out by the media. Reporter: As for the national security adviser trump fired this week, after he was exposed misrepresenting a conversation he'd had with the Russian ambassador and misleading Mike pence about it, the president tried to have it both ways. Yes, John. Thank you, Mr. President. Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign, and on the leaks, is it fake news, or are these real leaks? Well, the leaks are real. You're the one that wrote about them and reported them. The leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it. The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake. Reporter: Trump insisted general Mike Flynn's real sin wasn't that he reached out to the Russians. Mike Flynn is a fine person, and I asked for his resignation. He respectfully gave it. Reporter: But that he didn't tell the vice president the truth about what was discussed. He was just doing his job. The thing is, he didn't tell our vice president properly and then he said he didn't remember, so either way, it wasn't very satisfactory to me. Reporter: And he insisted the leaks that exposed Flynn's dishonesty are the real problem. What was wrong was the way that other people, including yourselves in this room, were given that information. That was classified information, it was given illegally. I don't understand how any of his supporters, or anyone in congress can turn a blind eye to these accusations and Intel from our intelligence community. Talking about the connection between Russia and the trump campaign. Reporter: Another major headline to emerge from the press conference, had to do with trump's targeted travel ban. The president now says he'll issue a brand-new order, as early as next week. We have some of the best lawyers in the country working on it. And the new executive order is being tailored to the decision we got down from the court. Okay? Reporter: Trump refused to take any blame for the chaos at America's airports after the rollout of that first order, or the constitutional objections raised by the courts. We had a bad court. We had a court that gave us what I consider to be, with great respect, a very bad decision. Very bad for the safety and security of our country. The rollout was perfect. Reporter: On immigration, trump signalled he's open to allowing the so-called dreamers to stay, young men and women brought here illegally as children, most of whom have broken no laws, but now face the threat of deportation. DACA is a difficult subject for me, I will tell you. It's one of the most difficult, because you have these incredible kids, not in all cases, sometimes they're gang members and drug dealers too. Reporter: DACA is an Obama administration policy designed to protect those kids from deportation. I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids. And I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do. Reporter: Trump was also asked about his promises to improve life in the inner cities. Mr. President, I need to find out from you, you said something as it relates to inner cities. That was one of your platforms during your campaign. Fix the inner cities. Reporter: Reporter April Ryan pressed him for details. When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the cbc in your kfrgdss with your urban agenda, you're inner city agenda -- Include who? The congressional black caucus -- Well, I would, do you want to set up the meeting? No, no, no. Are they friends of yours? I'm just a reporter. Set up the meeting. Let's go, set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the black caucus. What he said to April Ryan, a 20-year veteran reporter of the white house was essentially all black people know each other. Donald Trump time and time again has told us that's how he thinks. Reporter: On capitol hill, ABC's Mary Bruce tracked down a member of the black caucus who raised an eyebrow. Bauecause there was a black woman in the room, the assumption was that some way, somehow, in spate ite of the fact that she was a reporter, she had a unique contact with the congressional black caucus. You don't think he would have asked another reporter to set up a meeting like that? I don't think he would have asked you. Are you a friendly reporter? Reporter: One of many awkward minutes. That was unlike any news conference I've ever seen. I'm changing it from fake news. Very fake news. But arenack and forth, aggressive, contentious. He called on 17 different reporters. Suddenly, no holds barred. Not too many. We do have other people. He seemed to most relish and enjoy fighting with reporter rs on tough questions. And I'd be a pretty good reporter, not as good as you. And yet we weren't expecting a press conference today, were we? No, we weren't. Reporter: Reporters had been summoned to the east room of the white house, expecting to hear about trump's new pick for labor secretary, replacing the fast-food executive who withdrew yesterday in the wake of a scandal. The new nominee, from the Florida university law school. He wasn't even in the room. I think he'll be a tremendous secretary of labor. Reporter: Even if trump didn't manage to change the subject, he framed it in his own terms. It's unclear how it will play with the voters. As for the president's prediction -- Tomorrow, they will say Donald Trump rants and raves -- The cover of tomorrow os new York post says it all, the wildest show on Earth. Today, not so much a press conference but a media circus. I'm David Wright for "Nightline" in New York.
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