TRANSCRIPT + FULL EPISODE: Greta Van Susteren interviews President Donald J. Trump and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.)

Political analyst Greta Van Susteren sits down with President Donald Trump in a prime time...
Political analyst Greta Van Susteren sits down with President Donald Trump in a prime time special Friday night.(WWNY)
Updated: Sep. 19, 2020 at 11:08 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. – Greta Van Susteren interviewed President Donald J. Trump and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration, for Gray TV’s “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” airing Sunday, September 20, 2020.

Trump, interviewed on Wednesday, discussed his election prospects in battleground states, the failure of his administration’s PR strategy during the COVID crisis and challenged Joe Biden on his Supreme Court nominations. Jayapal discussed leading an investigation of the allegations of forced surgeries at ICE detention centers and her support of Joe Biden’s candidacy.

The interview with the President was conducted two days before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and also aired during Gray TVs primetime special “Full Court Press: Election Countdown” on Thursday and Friday nights.

On the May 17, 2020 episode of “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested he would support a Trump nominee to the Supreme Court this year, saying: “Merrick Garland was a different situation. You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you’ve got them both would be different ... I don’t want to speculate, but I think appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020.”

A video clip of the Graham interview is available here.*

Interview highlights for both President Trump and Rep. Jayapal are below.

The full transcript of the Trump interview can be found here.

The full transcript of the Jayapal interview can be found here.

Selected video segments of the President Trump interview are available here.

Please courtesy “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” / Gray TV.

President Trump Highlights

On the Supreme Court and Joe Biden:

President Donald J. Trump

Next year is very important because the Supreme Court, you could have one, two, three, or four justices. You know, a lot of people say that’s almost the most important thing. I think the military probably is, but I fully get it. You could have one, two, three or four Supreme Court justices for the next president. And we have conservative, good solid people. I made a list. He can’t make a list because he’s got a bunch of radicals that would go onto the Supreme Court. He would have radical left people. And he can’t put that out because you couldn’t be president if people saw that list.

On whether he had any regrets over his handling of the COVID crisis:

President Donald J. Trump

I think we did a great job with coronavirus, except at public relations. They spent so much time working. Look, we would have lost two and a half million people, as I’ve said. We’re at 185,000, and it’s too much. One person is too much. Because it never should have been allowed to happen by China. They should have never allowed it out. They stopped it from going into China, but they didn’t stop it from going into us.

We did a great job except public relations-wise, my people got outplayed. Just like you said before, Nancy Pelosi said this or that, no matter what you do, if you say, “We did this,” they say, "Well, it wasn’t good enough. If you say, “We did that...” This is standard fare for the Democrats. They say it wasn’t good enough.

On the COVID vaccine:

President Donald J. Trump

We have vaccines coming in a matter of moments. I mean, literally it’s very close.

We did a phenomenal job on coronavirus, a phenomenal job. Ventilators, vaccines, wait until you see, we almost have the vaccine. A Biden campaign, a Biden administration wouldn’t have had it for three or four years, okay? You know that. They couldn’t get anything through the FDA.

On the Woodward book:

President Donald J. Trump

It’s totally a mischaracterization, and it just keeps going on and on and on and nothing. I don’t want people to panic. So I’m not going to stand out there and say, “Oh, everyone’s going to die. Everyone’s going to die.” The leader of a country, it’s so ridiculous. Winston Churchill. When he stood in buildings, he was saying how wonderful everything was and be brave and fight and be smart. And don’t panic. In the meantime, bombs were being dropped down on London.

So what I said was exactly perfect. And the news goes around this Woodward, who frankly, I mean, I watched him, he’s sort of exhausted. I look at him, I think he’s been very discredited over this. The people that read it, the people that understand it, they’re saying exactly the right thing. I also said last night, I said previously, let my actions speak. Because I closed down the border into China, which was heavily infected. Everybody told me don’t do it. It was way too early.

On the economy:

President Donald J. Trump

I think our third quarter is going to be incredible. And that’s going to be very good before the election because people see I know how to handle the economy like nobody else. I had it, I opened it up. It became the best we’ve ever had. And then we closed it. We had to. By closing it, we saved two and a half million lives, in my opinion. Two and a half million lives. If we would have gone herd... And I’m fine with herd at a certain level, but not then, we would have had two and a half million people dead. According to many people. I would say that your average. Could have been two million, it could have been a million and a half, but a lot different than the numbers we have right now.

On John Bolton:

President Donald J. Trump

John Bolton is incompetent, okay? But here’s what he did: He released classified information, highly classified information and confidential information, all different categories. John Bolton should never have been allowed to do that. You know, the young sailor that sent a picture home to his mother and other people? They go to jail for a long period of time. You can’t do that. And that was not nearly as vital, as important, as John Bolton. John Bolton is an incompetent person and I’m telling you, all this maniac wanted to do is go to war. Let’s go to war, let’s go to war. He was crazy. But I used him for my own purpose, but ultimately we had to get rid of him.

Rep. Jayapal Highlights

On her enthusiasm for Joe Biden:

Greta Van Susteren

You were all out for Senator Bernie Sanders. Endorsed him in the primaries. Are you now all out for Vice President Biden?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal / (D-Wash.)

I am all in for Vice President Biden ...

I am all over in any way I can to help people understand what the choice is before us, and so I’ve been working very hard on behalf of the vice president and Senator Harris’s ticket, working to make sure that we are turning out progressives, young people, folks of color, working people, and that they understand that Joe Biden is committed to a $15 minimum wage to improving everything that they care about.

Joe Biden has the most progressive platform that we’ve had in a long time.

That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop pushing for what we believe to be the ultimate results, but no progress is possible with Donald Trump in the White House, and that is the message that I am sending.

I do think that four years of Donald Trump destroying our constitution and leading with fear and racism and xenophobia, and showing that he really cares about no one, including those in his own party who deserve healthcare, who deserve to have a clean environment and no floods and no hurricanes. I think that has really shown people who this man is.

On surgeries at ICE detention centers:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal / (D-Wash.)

I’ve been on the forefront of this issue. I think I was the first member of Congress to organize 173 of my colleagues to write a letter immediately calling for an investigation, an OIG investigation at the Department of Homeland Security into this issue. We did just hear from Department of Homeland Security that they would be launching an investigation. So that is an important step forward.

Can you imagine if you or I went in for some routine procedure, we got put under, and then we suddenly woke up and were told that, oh, I’m sorry, your reproductive organs are gone? This is just a stunning assault.

On the stimulus and Trump saying Democrats want to bail out Democratic states because they are poorly run:

Rep. Pramila Jayapal / (D-Wash.)

It is so outrageous that Donald Trump just tries to politicize every issue. There shouldn’t be Republicans and Democrats when it comes to a health pandemic. There are people in California who are Republicans and independents who may have voted for Donald Trump, and he is forsaking them, because the reality is a lot of our Democratic states have some of the governors who have taken the most aggressive action in the face of a president who continues to hold rallies where people are walking around without masks


About Greta Van Susteren:

Greta Van Susteren is the Chief Political Analyst for Gray Media and host of Full Court Press. Ms. Van Susteren is a veteran of Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN. Her prime-time Fox News Channel Show, “On the Record,” was number 1 in its time slot for 14 1⁄2 years. Before joining Fox News, she hosted CNN’s prime-time news and analysis program, “The Point with Greta Van Susteren,” and co-hosted the network’s daily legal analysis show, “Burden of Proof.” Her legal analysis for CNN’s coverage of Election 2000 earned her the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Journalism. She continues to host the weekly 30-minute program “Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren” on Voice of America, which broadcasts exclusively outside of the United States.

About “Full Court Press” and Gray Television:

“Full Court Press” is a Sunday political show broadcast on all Gray Television markets and syndicated in leading cities including New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles covering 80% of the country. Gray Television currently owns and/or operates television stations and leading digital properties in 94 television markets, including the number-one-rated television station in 68 markets and the first or second highest-rated television station in 87 markets. Gray’s television stations cover approximately 24 percent of US television households and broadcast approximately 400 separate programming streams, including nearly 150 affiliates of the CBS/NBC/ABC/FOX networks. Gray Television also owns video program production, marketing, and digital businesses including Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Raycom, and RTM Studios, the producer of PowerNation programs and content. For further information, please visit

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