Screengrab: "60 Minutes"/CBS

President Trump sat down for a lengthy interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes," discussing a wide variety of topics from climate change to foreign policy to the Mueller investigation.

The big picture: Trump was discursive — and often combative — while defending some of his administration's most controversial policies, including family separation at the border. He ended one particularly tense exchange with Stahl by reminding her, "Lesley, it's okay. In the meantime, I'm president — and you're not."

Climate change
  • "I think something’s happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don't think it's a hoax, I think there's probably a difference. But I don't know that it's manmade. I will say this. I don't want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don't want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want to be put at a disadvantage."
  • "I'm not denying climate change. But it could very well go back. You know, we're talking about over a millions of years. They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael."

Reality check: The vast majority of scientists do believe that climate change is a real — and dangerous — phenomenon, highlighted by last week's report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned of potential catastrophe unless the world took "unprecedented" steps to combat the issue.

The Mueller investigation
  • Asked if he'd pledge to not shut down the investigation: "Well, I — I don't pledge anything. But I will tell you, I have no intention of doing that. I think it’s a very unfair investigation because there was no collusion of any kind. There is no collusion. I don't want to pledge. Why should I pledge to you? If I pledge, I'll pledge. I don't have to pledge to you. But I have — I have no intention of doing that."

Go deeper:

North Korea
  • Pressed by Stahl with Kim Jong-un's history of torture, Trump responded: "Sure. I know all these things. I mean — I'm not a baby. I know these things."
  • And asked about his declaration of "love" for Kim: "Look. Let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well.  I have a good energy with him.  I have a good chemistry with him. Look at the horrible threats that were made.  No more threats. No more threats."

Go deeper: Trump and Kim's roller coaster year.

Russia
  • On Vladimir Putin's alleged assassinations of political enemies: "Probably he is, yeah. Probably. I mean, I don't — "
  • On meddling during the 2016 election: "They — they meddled. But I think China meddled too."

Go deeper:

His regrets as president
  • "The press treats me terribly. I thought very strongly that, you know, the one great thing will happen is the press will start treating me great. Lesley, they treat me worse. They got worse instead of better. Very dishonest. ... I regret that the press treats me so badly."
  • "I could have been earlier with terminating the NAFTA deal. The problem was, I was getting to know the leaders. I was getting to know countries. I didn't want to do it right out of the box. So I waited a little while, but I could have done trade a little bit earlier."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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