Trump denies hiding detail of Putin summit talks from staff

Pauline Gross
January 13, 2019

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".

The New York Times reported Friday that law enforcement officials had investigated whether the President was working on behalf of Russian Federation against United States interests.

Trump dismissed the notion in Saturday's interview, but without ever directly denying that he was working as a secret agent for Russian Federation.

It is unusual for these meetings of these nature to not be reported, as per past presidential standards, the Post notes, especially considering allegations of Russian Federation interfering in the 2016 election.

Trump responded to the reporting in a phone interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night.

The Trump administration rejected the report, saying Tillerson in 2017 "gave a fulsome readout of the meeting immediately afterwards to other USA officials in a private setting, as well as a readout to the press".

The Trump administration "has imposed significant new sanctions in response to Russian malign activities", said the spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity and noted that Tillerson in 2017 "gave a fulsome readout of the meeting immediately afterward to other U.S. officials in a private setting, as well as a readout to the press". "You sit with the president of various countries", Trump said.

Trump said he had "a great conversation" with Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.

On Friday, the New York Times published an article stating that federal law enforcement officials were so concerned about Trump's behaviour in the days after he fired James Comey from the FBI that they opened an investigation into whether he had been working for Russian Federation against the interests of the United States.

That investigation was taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller when he was appointed in May of 2017.

Following the Hamburg meeting, the United States leader took away the notes of his interpreter and instructed the person to keep quiet on what was said, the paper reported.

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No evidence has publicly emerged that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said.

Trump tweeted early on Saturday that the report showed that the FBI leadership "opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof" after he had fired Comey.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he could not comment on the specifics of the report, but said his committee would press ahead with its probe of Mr Trump's contacts with Russian Federation.

Trump went on to call Comey a liar and place the investigation at the feet of former FBI agents Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

The Times said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been suspicious of Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign.

"The Washington Post story is so outrageously inaccurate it doesn't even warrant a response", she said in a statement.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt" and views it as an attempt to besmirch the legitimacy of his presidency.

Trump's ex-national security advisor, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his Moscow ties.

Mueller has indicted 33 people, including members of Russia's GRU military intelligence, and chalked up convictions against some of the president's close associates.

"Cohen, who will testify in Congress on February 7, insists that he has never been to Prague, but added in a tweet: "#Mueller knows everything!"

Other reports by GizPress

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