US President Donald Trump has dismissed Robert Mueller’s investigation and ongoing talks about a proposed border wall in a New York Times interview.
The president said negotiations in Congress about funding for a wall – the issue behind the recent government shutdown – were a “waste of time”.
He also claimed his lawyers had been reassured he was not a target in the special counsel’s investigation.
Mr Mueller is probing alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
The New York Times’ interview with Mr Trump came after the president reached out to the newspaper’s publisher A G Sulzberger.
Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked the paper as the “failing New York Times”.
Mr Sulzberger asked the president to stop his attacks on the media last year, saying they could “lead to violence” against journalists.
What did Trump say about the border wall?
“I’ll continue to build the wall, and we’ll get the wall finished,” the president said, dismissing the continuing talks aimed at solving the impasse in Congress and implying he could declare a national emergency to ensure the barrier is built.
Mr Trump has sought $5.7 billion (£4.4bn) for a wall on the southern border. The Democrats refuse to provide it, arguing it is immoral and ineffective.
The divide led to the longest government shutdown in US history, which will resume on 15 February if no budget can be agreed.
Mr Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the interview over the border wall.
“I’ve actually always gotten along with her, but now I don’t think I will any more,” he said. “I think she’s doing a tremendous disservice to the country.”
Ms Pelosi told reporters on Thursday there would be no money for a wall in planned border security legislation.
What about the Russia inquiry?
Speaking to two New York Times reporters in the Oval Office, the president said he had received assurances from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein.
Mr Rosenstein previously oversaw Mr Mueller’s investigation before the president transferred control to acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker.
“He told the attorneys that I’m not a subject, I’m not a target,” Mr Trump said.
The president also insisted he “never did” speak to his long-time associate Roger Stone about stolen Democratic emails published by Wikileaks in 2016.
Mr Stone has been charged with seven counts in the Mueller probe related to the emails – charges he denies.
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President Trump did however attack the FBI raid on Mr Stone’s home, calling it “a very sad thing for this country”.
“I like Roger, he’s a character,” Mr Trump said.
What else did the president say?
“I love this job,” Mr Trump insisted, dismissing talk he might not run for re-election in 2020.
He did however tell the paper he had lost “massive amounts of money” working as president.
He also spoke of Democratic candidates in next year’s vote.
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California Senator Kamala Harries had “the best opening so far” while Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren had been “hurt badly”, the president maintained, by his attacks on her Native American heritage.
“I may be wrong, but I think that was a big part of her credibility and now all of a sudden it’s gone.”