- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 2, 2019

President Trump on Saturday knocked what he called the Russia “collusion delusion” and lamented that people launching investigations are now “trying to take you out with bull—.”

“We had the greatest victory of all time - now we have people, lost, and unfortunately you put the wrong people in a couple of positions, and they leave people for all time that shouldn’t be here,” he told conservative activists gathered in suburban Maryland. “And all of a sudden, they’re trying to take you out with bull —.”

The crowd at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) roared with approval, with some repeating a chant of the expletive.

“So now we’re waiting for a report of people that weren’t elected,” he said, pointing out that special counsel Robert Mueller “never received a vote.”

Mr. Trump also mocked the media for their response to comments he made at a press conference during the 2016 campaign asking Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails.

“If you tell a joke… if you’re having fun with the audience, if you’re on live television with millions of people and 25,000 people in an arena, and if you say something like ‘Russia, please, if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails…’” he said, prompting hollering from the crowd.

The crowd then started a “Lock her Up!” chant — a common refrain directed at Mrs. Clinton during the 2016 campaign over the controversy involving her private email.

“So everybody’s having a good time, I’m laughing, we’re all having fun, and then fake CNN and others say ‘He asked Russia to go get the emails,’” Mr. Trump said, affecting a deep, stern voice.

“These people are sick,” he said. “They know the game, and they play it dirtier than anybody’s ever played the game.”

At one point, he acknowledged to the crowd that he was “totally off script right now.”

“And this is how I got elected, by being off script,” he said.

Mr. Trump gave a hug to an American flag onstage in a ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland before proceeding with his remarks.

As supporters waited for the president to arrive, some areas of the ballroom tried to get “We Want Trump” chants started.

Mr. Trump spoke to the conference soon after returning from Vietnam for an abbreviated summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, with whom he could not come to an agreement on reducing the isolationist country’s nuclear arsenal.

“Even in the midst of nuclear diplomacy, Mr. President, we are happy when you walked away, you walked here to be with us,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, the organization that hosts CPAC, when he introduced the president.

It’s Mr. Trump‘s third straight appearance at the conservative gathering after he skipped the 2016 amid a spat with organizers over his speaking slot.

Though conservatives had eyed Mr. Trump with some trepidation in the past — some even claimed victory after he pulled out of the 2016 event — they have since embraced him, cheering his judicial appointments, the GOP tax cuts, and his embracing pro-life policy positions.

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