Trump evades the question whether he has worked for Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump avoided giving an immediate answer when asked whether he is currently working or working for Russia, after a published report said that federal law enforcement officers were so concerned about his behavior after he had James Comey of the FBI fired that she began to investigate whether Trump had worked against American interests for the American opponent.
Trump said it was the "most insulting" question he had ever been asked.
The New York Times report last Friday named unnamed former law enforcement officers and others who were familiar with the investigation.
Trump responded Saturday to the report during a telephone broadcast on Fox News Channel after host Jeanine Pirro, who is also a personal friend of the president, asked if he is currently working or has ever worked for Russia.
"I think it's the most insulting thing that's ever been asked," Trump said. "I think this is the most insulting article I've ever written, and when you read the article, you see that they have not found anything at all."
Trump never answered Pirro's question directly, but went on to say that not a single president has come up against Russia any harder than he.
President Donald Trump attends a round table discussion on Friday 11 January 2019 on border security with local leaders in the White House cabinet in Washington. (AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin)
"If you ask the people in Russia, I have been harder against Russia than anyone else, and others … probably every other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents."
The Times reported that FBI agents and some senior officials were suspicious about Trump's ties with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, but at the time they were not investigating because they were not sure how to use such a sensitive and important probe. approach, according to unnamed officials. But Trump's behavior in the days around Comey's May 2017 as FBI director, in particular two cases in which he appeared to bind Comey's rejection to the Russia investigation, has helped, according to the newspaper activate the counter-espionage part of the research.
In the research, counterintelligence researchers tried to evaluate whether Trump posed a potential threat to national security. They also wanted to determine whether Trump deliberately worked for Russia or was accidentally influenced by Moscow.
Trump tweeted at the beginning of Saturday that the report showed that the FBI leadership "opened an inquiry to me, without reason and without evidence" after he had dismissed Comey.
Robert Mueller took over the research when he was appointed special counselor shortly after Comey's firing. The overall investigation will focus on Russian election intervention and whether the Trump campaign is coordinated with the Russians, and whether Trump may have impeded the course of justice. The Times says it is unclear whether Mueller is still pursuing the counter-intelligence angle.
Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times that he had no knowledge of the investigation, but said that since it opened a year and a half ago and they had not heard anything, apparently "they did not find anything."
Trump also repeatedly and loudly denied the collusion with the Russians.
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