TRUMP HITS BACK

He de­mands probe into Demo­crat Schumer’s Rus­sian ties based on 14-year-old photo

New Straits Times - - World -

PRESIDENT Don­ald Trump, his ad­min­is­tra­tion un­der siege for con­tacts with Rus­sian of­fi­cials, is calling for “an im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion” into Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer’s own ties to Rus­sian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s ev­i­dence? A 14-yearold photo of Schumer and Putin hold­ing cof­fee and dough­nuts in a New York City gas sta­tion.

The president on Fri­day tweeted a photo of the two men, calling for a probe into Schumer’s “ties to Rus­sia and Putin” and called the New York se­na­tor “A to­tal hyp­ocrite!”.

Trump did not say where the photo came from, but Schumer quickly pointed out that it was taken in 2003 when Putin ven­tured to New York to cel­e­brate the open­ing of a Rus­sian-owned Lukoil gas sta­tion on Man­hat­tan’s west side.

Schumer, in his own tweet, said he would “hap­pily talk” un­der oath about his meet­ing with Putin, which took place “in full view of press and pub­lic”.

He then chal­lenged Trump to do the same. And, a short time later, he posted a fol­low-up in which he fur­ther poked fun at the photo, not­ing “And for the record, they were Krispy Kreme donuts”.

On the same trip to the United States in 2003, Putin trav­elled to Camp David, Mary­land, where he met then Repub­li­can president Ge­orge W. Bush.

Trump’s tweet came just hours af­ter the con­ser­va­tive web­site Drudge Re­port made the photo its lead im­age. And that was a day af­ter the photo was un­earthed by the pro-Trump blog Gate­way Pun­dit, which ran it with the head­line “Where’s the out­rage?”

Trump tar­geted con­gres­sional Democrats for their en­coun­ters with Rus­sians over the years even though the party’s crit­i­cism of At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions cen­tred on his fail­ure to ac­knowl­edge his meet­ings when ques­tioned at his Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing and in writ­ten re­sponses to the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

AP PIC

Rus­sian President Vladimir Putin and Se­na­tor Chuck Schumer (sec­ond from right) in New York City on Sept 26, 2003.

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