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Trump's wide-ranging interview ahead of Super Bowl

2019-02-03 20:19
US President Donald Trump says it's "totally up to" his attorney general whether the public gets to read special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report. Trump was asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether he'd have a problem with a public release. He said: "I don't know. It depends. I have no idea what it's going to say." Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said last week the probe is "close to being completed." Democrats have pressured attorney general nominee William Barr to commit to releasing the final report in full. Barr has said he doesn't know "what will be releasable" or what Mueller's writing. Barr has cited Justice Department regulations that say Mueller's report should be confidential. They require only that the report explain decisions to pursue or decline prosecutions. Trump says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is "absolutely not leaving" the Cabinet even as top Republicans make a pitch for him to run for the Senate in Kansas. Pompeo served four terms in the House and was Trump's CIA director before moving to the State Department. The decision by longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts to retire has prompted an effort by other Republican senators to recruit Pompeo for 2020. He's said that push has included a call from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Trump told CBS that McConnell may have spoken to Pompeo but "I asked him the question the other day. He says he's absolutely not leaving. I don't think he'd do that. And he doesn't want to be lame duck." Trump also said he wouldn't steer his son Barron toward football, saying it's "a dangerous sport," but also wouldn't stand in the way if the soccer-playing 12-year-old wanted to put on pads. In an interview taped before the Super Bowl, Trump said football is "really tough." He says equipment, including helmets, has improved "but it hasn't solved the problem." Trump thinks the NFL "is a great product." But as for Barron playing, the president calls it a "very tough question." "If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn't." Trump has, in the past, bemoaned that football games have become less violent. The NFL and college football have increased penalties and enforcement for illegal hits to the head and for hitting defenseless players. "They're ruining the game," he said during a rally in Alabama in September 2017. He said players were being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it's "not the same game." Former US President Barack Obama, the father of two daughters, said in a 2013 interview with the New Republic that he would "have to think long and hard" before letting a son, if he had one, play football because of the risk of head injuries. Obama also said football may need to change to prevent injuries. Meanwhile, Trump defended his intention to withdraw US forces from the Middle East. "We're the policemen of the world, and we don't have to be," he said. Trump also said that he plans to keep an active military base in Iraq in order "to be able to watch" Iran.