Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Trump under fresh scrutiny over relationship with Putin

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe R-Texas says his questions uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey Trump blasts FBI probe into whether he worked for Russia
Jeannette Daniel | 14 January, 2019, 08:41

President Donald Trump avoided directly answering when asked whether he now is or has ever worked for Russian Federation after a published report said law enforcement officials, concerned about his behavior after he fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017, had begun investigating that possibility.

In the Fox News interview, Trump questioned why the newspaper made such a "big deal" out of his discussions with Putin in Helsinki last summer.

There are no detailed records of five personal meetings President Donald Trump has had with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post reported Saturday, citing USA officials.

Speaking to Fox News' Jeanine Pirro, Trump denied the reporting and said, "you'd see that they found absolutely nothing".

A digest of the top political stories from the Globe, sent to your inbox Monday-Friday.

Pirro then asked the president if he has ever worked on behalf of Russian Federation, and Trump replied, "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked", but did not issue an outright denial.

Trump never answered Pirro's question directly, but went on to say that no president has taken a harder stance against Russian Federation than he has.

The New York Times reported that Trump's behavior in the days around his firing of James Comey as FBI director helped trigger the counterintelligence part of the investigation. "The idea that's contained in the New York Times story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response".

A White House spokesman told the Post that the Trump administration has looked to "improve the relationship with Russia" after the Obama administration "pursued a flawed "reset" policy that sought engagement for the sake of engagement".

More news: NetherRealm Has Revealed The Official Box Art For Mortal Kombat 11

Trump has gone to what the Post described as "extraordinary lengths" to keep the specifics of his conversations with his Russian counterpart under wraps.

On Sunday, Cruz told NBC's "Meet the Press" that the media's focus on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russia's campaign to disrupt the 2016 US presidential election is just another example of the disconnect between most of the nation and its capital.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said that Americans beyond the Beltway do not think the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow is that important.

In their message to Trump, the chairmen of the Intelligence, Judiciary and Oversight committees say: "Our nation's laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress".

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion.

A separate source said Baker told investigators the internal FBI debate over the president's decision to fire Comey on May 9, 2017, included personnel who have since left the bureau for cause, retired, or have been demoted.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership".

Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent Republican, told "Fox News Sunday" that he does not trust the Times, but added that "if this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it".

The president also pointed out that the miscreants involved in the counterintelligence investigation were eventually fired themselves.

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