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Trump's presidency is 'running like a fine-tuned machine.' Just ask him

Anita Kumar and Franco Ordonez, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to reset his young and chaotic presidency with a lengthy news conference in which he attacked the media, bragged about his campaign win and listed a dozen accomplishments from securing the border to creating jobs.

"I turn on the TV, open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos. Chaos. Yet it is the exact opposite," Trump said. "This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine."

Trump boasted of his successes despite a series of setbacks that include an appeals court's rejection of his travel ban, the forced resignation of his national security adviser, the withdrawal of his labor secretary nominee, and a seemingly endless stream of leaks from the White House and federal agencies that placed Trump or his administration in a bad light.

"This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," he said. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time. And we have not even started the big work yet. That starts early next week."

Trump revealed few new details on the firing of his national security adviser, though he was peppered with questions about Michael Flynn and his administration's connections to Russia.

Trump denied reports that his campaign team had contacts with Russian intelligence officials and told reporters that Flynn had been fired because of what he'd told Vice President Mike Pence, but that Trump didn't have a problem with Flynn talking to Russian officials about sanctions.

"I didn't direct him, but I would have directed him if he didn't do it. OK?" Trump said.

He called the media's focus on Russia "a ruse" and said biased coverage has hurt the political climate needed for a positive deal with that nuclear power.

"I don't know that we're going to make a deal. I don't know," Trump said. "We might. We might not. But it would be much easier for me to be so tough -- the tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world."

Trump told the dozens of reporters in the packed East Room that he was taking his message directly to the American people because the news media were misleading the public.

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