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Trump says he's exonerating all Air Force Academy graduates with records for misbehaving

Trump denies requesting USS McCain move
Trump denies knowing about request to sideline USS John McCain 08:06

President Trump delivered the commencement address to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Thursday, and stayed to shake the hand of every single graduating cadet. 

"Most of all to the nearly 1,000 cadets, who I have agreed to shake every single hand," the president told the crowd. "They gave me a choice. They said, 'Sir you don't have to shake any hands, some people do that.' Those are the smart ones — they're out of here. 'You can shake one hand, to the one person, top of the class. You could shake 10, 50 or 100. And you could also stay for 1,000.' And I'm staying for 1,000, OK?"

The president praised their work and accomplishments, and announced he's exonerating all graduates with restrictions on their records for pulling pranks and generally misbehaving so they can all enter active duty on even footing. Mr. Trump explained that "even the best cadets can sometimes get a little bit carried away."

"Lieutenant General Silveria has informed me that a few cadets are still on restriction for pranks and other fairly bad mischief. You know what I'm talking about, right?" the president said. "And you all know who you are. So keeping with tradition and as your commander in chief I hereby absolve and pardon all cadets serving restrictions and confinements. And that you earned. You earned it. So you're all on even footing, is that nice?"

"That is what your time at this great Academy has been all about — preparing you to do whatever it takes to learn, to adapt and to win, win, win," the president said. 

Mr. Trump said he intends to continue to pursue the "overwhelming" strength that's necessary to keep the U.S. secure. 

The president's Colorado visit was his first since he campaigned there ahead of the 2016 presidential election. 

Before leaving for Colorado, the president insisted he did not know that officers were told to keep a warship named for the late Sen. John McCain out of President Trump's view during his Memorial Day trip to Japan. 

Mr. Trump also reiterated his claims that there was no collusion or obstruction, despite special counsel Robert Mueller Mueller not reaching those conclusions in his report. Mueller spoke out publicly Wednesday for the first time since he became special counsel two years ago, claiming that if he and his investigators found the president committed no crime, they would have said so, and Justice Department policy prohibits him from charging a sitting president. 

As he left the White House this morning, he had an exchange with CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid about Mueller's remarks. Reid pointed out that Mueller did not exonerate him. "He couldn't clear you," she pointed out.

"That means you're innocent. That means you're innocent," Mr. Trump said. 

"He said he couldn't say you were innocent," Reid countered.

"Then he should have said, 'You're guilty,'" Mr. Trump responded.

Reid reminded him that Mueller had said he wouldn't make that pronouncement because it would be unfair. 

"He said essentially, 'You're innocent,'" Mr. Trump said. He added, "There was no crime, there was no collusion there was no nothing. And this is from a group of people that hate me. If they only found anything, they would have had it and he knows it better than anybody."  

Trump weighs in on Mueller's obstruction remarks 01:46

Mr. Trump and his White House consider Mueller's conclusions a vindication of the president, who appeared to tweet — whether intentionally or not — that Russia helped him to get elected, only to walk back that claim minutes later.

Russia, Russia, Russia! That's all you heard at the beginning of this Witch Hunt Hoax," the president tweeted Thursday morning. "And now Russia has disappeared because I had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected. It was a crime that didn't exist. So now the Dems and their partner, the Fake News Media ... say he fought back against this phony crime that didn't exist, this horrendous false accusation, and he shouldn't fight back, he should just sit back and take it. Could this be Obstruction? No, Mueller didn't find Obstruction either. Presidential Harassment!"

Moments later, the president told reporters Russia didn't help him get elected, and Russia instead helped the other side — Hillary Clinton. 

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