Trump says Rus­sia probe will be fair

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS - WEST PALM BEACH -AP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said on Thurs­day he be­lieves he will be fairly treated in a spe­cial coun­sel in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, but said he did not know how long the probe would last.

The fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion has hung over Trump's White House since he took of­fice al­most a year ago, and some Trump al­lies have in re­cent weeks ac­cused the team of Jus­tice Depart­ment Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller of be­ing bi­ased against the Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dent.

But in an in­ter­view with the New York Times, Trump ap­peared to shrug off con­cerns about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was prompted by U.S. in­tel­li­gence agen­cies' con­clu­sion that Rus­sia tried to help Trump de­feat Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton by hack­ing and re­leas­ing em­bar­rass­ing emails and dis­sem­i­nat­ing pro­pa­ganda.

"There's been no col­lu­sion. But I think he's go­ing to be fair," Trump said in what the Times de­scribed as a 30minute im­promptu in­ter­view at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Mueller has charged four Trump as­so­ciates in his in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Rus­sia has de­nied in­ter­fer­ing in the U.S. elec­tion.

U.S. Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein said this month that he was not aware of any im­pro­pri­ety by Mueller's team.

Trump's lawyers have been say­ing for weeks that they had ex­pected the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion to wrap up quickly, pos­si­bly by the end of 2017. Mueller has not com­mented on how long it will last.

Trump told the Times that he did not know how long the in­ves­ti­ga­tion would take. "Tim­ing-wise, I can't tell you. I just don't know," he said.

Trump said he thought a pro­longed probe "makes the coun­try look bad" but said it has en­er­gized his core sup­port­ers.

"What it's done is, it's re­ally an­gered the base and made the base stronger. My base is strong than it's ever been," he said. The in­ter­view was a rare break in Trump's Christ­mas va­ca­tion in Florida. He has golfed each day aside from Christ­mas Day, and mainly kept a low pro­file, apart from the oc­ca­sional flurry of tweets.

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