Behind the scenes of ABC News' 30 hours with President Trump

In a special bonus episode of "The Investigation," ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos talks about his wide-ranging interview with the president as he traveled from Iowa to the White House.
19:33 | 06/13/19

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Transcript for Behind the scenes of ABC News' 30 hours with President Trump
I. Welcome to the special bonus edition of the investigation I'm Chris Lester senior executive producer joined here by special guest George Stephanopoulos who obviously has the news making interview. Of the year in some ways this is the first big interview the president has given to a network other than fox in awhile so we will couldn't wait to hear it. And it was thirty hours that George Stephanopoulos spent with them over two days. All the issues were discussed who's going to be a special but we actually got some clips. Out today. George welcome to the investigation. Thank congress is an overdrive this morning Chuck Schumer just took to the senate floor let's hear what he had to say about it. That is shocked shocked. Yet sadly par for the course this president. Later this afternoon. My friend senator Warner. We'll ask our colleagues for the unanimous consent to pass his bill that says if Russia Iran North Korea anyone else offers a campaign help. You reported to the FB IA SAP. My Republican friend should take a few hours to decide. If they really wanna block that bill if they do would be a disgrace. So you know the big news obviously is the president saying that he would actually accept information. About opponents from a foreign government. What you think made him saves that. Could they had and I guess at the scene where it is the beginning of the day yesterday this was he giving a tour the Oval Office and then. He got quite angry about I guess a PPC and CNN about all. With almost talk about polls there's another went out there that's making some. Some waves in this one's an internal poll from the trunk campaign it shows the president down in some. Key battleground states and some serious sources tell us that the trucking was taken aback by some of these results since in key states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania some of those states that helped deliver. The presidency to Donald Trump. The president's reaction he was reportedly live it. This is something we talked about as well this reporting. That you and others are as good if the president internal polling. Shows that he's behind. In fifteen to seventeen state she can coin that they committed. Well I don't believe those girls is no heat beats me in Texas where it even hero polls show your behind yeah no Michael showed that a winning everywhere. I don't know people we've all seen reports fifteen at a seventeen states. On the morning nearby its. Mission to get those bowls because as those somethings. They're supposed to exist. PM losing in fifteen out of seventeen cents. That's Tulsa exists I just was given a meeting that might bolster. I frankly don't even believe it calls using one its running campaign and whatever it is it is but I just had a meeting with somebody that's upholster. And I'm winning. He action during our interview on Tuesday Obama called back or skelley after going not a record action he was still upset by that. I'm Wednesday morning issued the one who first brought out Muller who went sat at the gas you know what he did I took the opportunity to ask questions. It's simply ask the question about Don junior because he was going. To capitol that day is in retrospect I said Nissan hasn't been charged which is attacked in retrospect should he called the FBI you know goes on get along answer. And then which of course leads to the natural all of that I Aston. Going forward what would you do and I gotta gotta tell you I mean I I guess that's exactly what the president believes but I less pricey citadel out. Should you going to be FBI when he got that in OK let's put yourself in a position your congressman somebody comes up and says hey I have information on your opponent. Do you call the F. I don't think coming from doing you do I've seen a lot of things over my life I don't think in my whole life I've ever called the FBI and my whole life. I don't you don't call the FBI you throw somebody out of your office you do what if Al Gore got a stolen briefing book he called the FBI well that's different as stolen briefing but this is a newstalk. This is somebody that said we have information. On your opponent. Well let me call the FB a give me a break election as it would have been a director says that's what should happen. The FBI director is wrong. Your campaign this time around foreigners if Russia and China someone else offers information upon should accept that there should be called the FBI. I think maybe do mouse I think you might want to listen I don't there's nothing wrong with listening if somebody called. From a country Norway. We have information on your. I think that wanna hear that you want to kind of interference in elections not in the disappearance they have information I think that take it. If I thought there was something wrong let go maybe to the FBI if I thought there was something wrong. But when somebody comes up with up a researcher I think come up without weary search on the school the FBI the FBI doesn't have enough agents to take you have it. You go and talk honestly to congressman they all do it they always and that's the way it is it's called up hope research. Do you think it actually will force those in note like Nancy Pelosi. On the impeachment issue will listen baby changed the equation a little button pusher. I think it adds I think that the pressure I mean look at what you have last night and ensure find out all of them but yet get into the country democratic candidate. They that is cost impeachment I mean it's such it's an admission of the open this. Has changed for an experienced an invitation to more elation from our adversaries could take it. This data to sign the president some waste over and accept the findings of the Mahler. Investigation which some Democrats at least. Is it could be grounds for impeachment even in the absence of criminal activity. Oh I'm so we I think it's gonna continue to it's gonna make the pressure continue to build our own time as you know they can't because he's preached firmly against opening an inquiry. Right now and she believes that a majority per caucus are so against opening a inquiry right now but this clearly opens up a new avenue. Swore debate and has brought more Democrats on board. You and I it's spoken about the polls and I know those polls were devastating to the president even though he said they're not true but I know he was actually. Furious about it do you think he feels and what we're sure overall. Interpretation of him and over the last thirty hours since his people leak earned it or is he energized boy. They say pagelets split screen like so much of this presidency I got too tight on the one. GC he can be buoyant. He can be energized about the issues that he thinks are working for him. Like the economy treaty does very excited about. Is that the back important Mexico over the last several days. Firm on China and I think at some level he also. Believes that he can draw beyond any of the Democrats. A running guest at same time. He seems to be seeping constantly about. The crude perception that he perhaps an underdog in a race about the Mueller investigations. About Russian weather that raises questions. About his legitimacy and always there. And slow boil it doesn't take much to bring it out. And is there I know there's a lot more there's going to be an hour special and everything else wonder what else I mean obviously was very excited to show you about Air Force One where the new Air Force One. The beginning so much else out there I mean cash we we talk about. A lot about the moral order and TJ is inches that are just. He's candid and the when he gave to me about accepting. The possibility accepting toward help. In the 20/20 election on obstruction of justice on Don making it is white house council on his views of whether or not a president can obstruct. Justice on on the big issues as well from terrorists. The federal receiver get health care. And you know we just start right are you opposed the review she got yes view a closed at the hutch pilot in the headline is really. If you discontinued. An understandable I guess continued obsession with the rush investigation whether Mueller and his willingness. I can say things that you people see in the eyes of the staff when he says. Could get in trouble. And I do just before you go Georgia do have to say trump did tweet. About the interview now and he's actually say he's not backing away he's suggesting we hope we we we may have edited it but. I don't think he's suggesting we Eddie thinks I might get by talking about others well that's what I. Citing Belinelli actually in Norway. You know I think he thinks that by saying Norway it wasn't a an adversarial government is is my guess I may be wrong. I guess that's part of it but you know we put up his words and negated the we showed them all. And united seeking Eaton core by the men anyway each uses to put my guess is he was talking about a necklace that it now it and this is gone so viral so quickly. And create such a reaction. But I think if you look at his work if you look at his demeanor she look the fact that basically. He started this conversation on this on you so literally believes. Exactly well we can't wait to see more Georgian thank you for coming on the investigation. Daycare banks and Allen here with Johnson Tucci senior investigative producer he was the man responsible of getting the president to sit down with this interview John. What a big get for the network. I think gives you well know on the book part of what we do we is. It is coming up Lee's creative ideas and ways that we can tell story will differ ruling so we. Approached the White House about a year ago that we wanted to spend a day in the life with the president I think that no one is really gotten to see. What a day in Donald Trump's White House is like fortunately we got two days we got to go on the road with president. On board Air Force One on Marine One helicopter that flies him back and forth to that plane. We were in the beast which is that limousine that takes him around a very secure a thick armored doors. And then the next morning Chris we got to meet him as he was walking to work in George having a conversation with him. Up on the way to the Oval Office. And it was there in that exchange that for the purposes of or we usually do this podcast. We got to have a conversation with him about special counsel Robert Mueller is investigation. The investigations up on the hill. What we saw overbilled two days spending let him nearly thirty hours on camera with him at times. We got to see that the president brought up. The special counsel's probe and all of the investigations that are looming over him on his own on prompted by George Stephanopoulos and I think it really goes to what we're seeing is that this is summing it's hovering. Over the president every day. Listen John you've you've been with president from since the day he. Yeah in an escalator I was very escalator and the only life still doing and as we just ask George obviously I asked George you know what does he seem beleaguered or does he seem kind of and it energetic you know George said it's kind of the split screen. Mom I'm what you see different about him. I wouldn't totally disagree with that I I I do think when he see different about him is the people around him and I think there. You know look I have been negotiated every injury the president has done with ABC since that escalator ride that was our first one when he was a candidate. If there was something in the early days at the president you know kept going a little too far or is going off topic. An aide typically hope exceed it one of his most trusted aides frequent social long. Would jump in would stop him will would would be able to stop him. Com there's no one around him they can do that anymore. I don't really see someone. That has the ability to stop him from himself not just as staining and the president Bo look. That you know you years served by the people around you the people that you know diving tag it you know help you from yourself. There's no one there that could do that and I thinking in in so many of those exchanges. You know when we started the morning is an example we have word not gonna go near the special counsel's investigation at that point president did he kept going and going and going going. We thought we just be there for five minutes I know Chris you've been these situations what do these using you to tell UK five minutes is up stopped. Nobody did that with us that they cameras kept rolling we kept going. I was surprised by that woes seems as tourists tonight I notice to just watching it is that it seemed like the whole issue got under his skidded it hit him right in the chest when we got there and at that point really you saw from from our footage. The president tells us to turn off the cameras to get out of the car. He you know it's interesting the president has always said I like winning I like to be a winner the fact that those polls which you reported on live reporter on what the campaign did that internal polling of seventeen states fifteen show and down. Back to the show that he's losing that kills Donald Trump he's got to be a winner raised you know our economy doing so totally but it's also the fact that he's. You know when being thought about re launching the campaign for 22 money for the re elect. There was deacons conversation maybe we should go back to trump tower and do it again right does he is real living for years ago he's remembering how the polls had him his number one how he is Al be around all the Republicans. Now he's head to head matchups would Democrats. Not too good for the president and that is driving him crazy we saw that timing timing and the fact that we started. Our second morning the president saying he edges watched your show you in draining about that conversation at the polls. It was still bugging him from the night before when George had a conversation with him. And and what else struck. You're out of this and I know there's so much we go there's a little lost I know we've released only a few things but he does also I mean obviously the polls and that there's one thing was obviously very excited about to show Air Force One be out. He was extremely excited about that I think that this president as we know is the master grander. And the fact that he gets to change in iconic airplane that is not been altered since John F. Kennedy was president. That's a legacy moment for Donald Trump any he has to put his stamp on and change and as someone said to me mild infection she saw the pictures that he showed us. It looks a little bit like his personal plane he takes a lot of pride in being able to put his stamp on things I think you see that. In that new design the fact that the PD blue and white the Jackie Kennedy created is gone. And now it's a red white and blue America first. Donald Trump's Air Force One it. Someone else. All right a George mentioned that obviously in the interview as well that there you know he talks about Bob Mueller and that that he actually answers questions. You know that Bob Mueller never asked him yeah I mean as we know from our reporting Robert Muller's team was only able to get questions. Answered in writing by the president they asked for in person to view the president's legal team said Nell. One of the things we know from our reporting that Robert Mueller wind to ask about were questions. On obstruction of justice presence legal team said no or only in answer things about collusion and that's what ultimately happened. But in that sit down interview with George. He goes and answers the questions at Robert Mueller raises those ten plus examples of obstruction of justice he talks about. I never told. Don McGann to lie wall would then why did he lie under wrote the president tells George well he just wants to make himself look like a good lawyer. That's not what Robert Mueller is 400 plus page report says. But the fact that he was willing to go there with us the fact that. It us in an interview usually get that and the special counsel who ran a. A 22 month long investigation couldn't we were surprised that you actually take the questions that and play ball with George. Right and then and then you know I didn't ask you and I got us here now I mean were you surprised that his answer about letting foreign governments. That he would do it again. 5015. In one way. You really do have to understand dolls from till he does not think he did anything wrong. So in that side of it no I wasn't surprised in the other side of it. You would think that he knows how much grief he would get from a statement like that but he just wouldn't do it. But banning any just doesn't care. I mean the fact he's going to examples of your congressman is that I ate it sounded to me Chris and also why don't think any needs they were in their fell mom really reacted. I would I don't know for sure but I would place a bet the pitch he says something like that around staffer on others as this means -- he's been thinking about I didn't do anything wrong. Right and I also called I used I think he used through the country of Norway so in his brain he's saying nor is their friend. It's tough stance on right so I think and I can't get in February nobody can but but I'm assuming that's why yeah. Each is a just felt so all. Easy flowing out of hand that he had talked about a scenario like that maybe before had a we know but I'm just saying it just. It felt as though I've bid said this before I don't tell you didn't anything wrong so miffed and what's the White House saying Q now. You know they they there hasn't been much from what I've heard on the -- they're non reacting about it too too loudly. I think his lot more stuff to come so see that as couple days brings arm but you know I I I do think from what I've heard from some sources is that. The president has been. Talking out loud trying to think through some things that he said does that mean the -- to real questions that the George. Balled up repeatedly George called him now EO is the president likes to say no collusion or obstruction of justice that George has said that as untrue sir. So I think you're gonna see a lot of interest staying a lot of mentioning it just ride I think the reason why he's doing answers because of those polls again Specter about what I realized there's. He's got to go branch out and brought news and they're not gonna get anything else they stay with in the Fox News echo chamber they've got to get out there they've got to talk to other Americans and. The president also remembers and going back to what he did right in 2015 and sixteen he flooded the zone there was an interviewee Donald Trump the candidates every single day I know how to deal with it. EL the fact that he's not been quiet so far they have to find a way to get him out there rev up. For some people think that this would term all they'll never do it again. I think that he will start doing more via our got a one on the opposite is true for yet he he thrives off absolutely he likes the fight even listen now he's tweeting back it our interview in the comments. That's what works for him he war that read Simone more than anything. All right well. I can't wait to see the interview. Thanks for joining us from the special bonus episode of the investigation. Please be sure to hit subscribe and leave us Arabian will be back next Tuesday and are regularly scheduled time with the new podcast episode for you. Thanks to our producers Trevor Hastings still in cuts. Kate when former for Johnson to cheer myself. We'll see you back here next week for another episode of the investigation.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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