Trump Calls for Quick End to Elec­tion-Re­lated Rus­sia Probes

The Jewish Voice - - NATIONAL - By: Ken Bre­de­meier

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called Mon­day for a quick con­clu­sion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into whether his cam­paign col­luded with Rus­sia last year to help him win the White House.

"They ought to get to the end of it be­cause the Amer­i­can peo­ple are sick of it," Trump told re­porters at a White House news con­fer­ence.

As he has in the past, the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent said "the whole Rus­sia thing was just an ex­cuse" by Democrats to ex­plain his up­set win over Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, a for­mer U.S. sec­re­tary of state.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment ap­pointed spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, a for­mer di­rec­tor of the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion, to lead the crim­i­nal probe of Trump cam­paign links to Rus­sian op­er­a­tives. There are signs Mueller also is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the pres­i­dent ob­structed jus­tice by fir­ing an­other for­mer FBI di­rec­tor, James Comey, while he was head­ing the agency's Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore Mueller took over.

U.S. me­dia re­ports ear­lier this year said Trump had dis­cussed fir­ing Mueller, but Trump said Mon­day that he is not con­sid­er­ing it.

In ad­di­tion to the crim­i­nal probe, there are nu­mer­ous con­gres­sional pan­els car­ry­ing out lengthy Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­ter­view­ing key cam­paign and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, with no in­di­ca­tion of when the probes might end or what con­clu­sions they might reach.

The U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity has con­cluded that Rus­sia, at the di­rec­tion of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, car­ried out an ex­ten­sive cam­paign to un­der­mine U.S. democ­racy and help Trump, a real es­tate mogul mak­ing his first run for pub­lic of­fice, win the elec­tion last Novem­ber. But Putin has de­nied the Rus­sian in­volve­ment and Trump has fre­quently de­bunked the Rus­sia con­nec­tion to his cam­paign as po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing by op­po­si­tion Democrats.

Trump's com­ments about the Rus­sia probes came dur­ing a lengthy ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion in the White House Rose Gar­den af­ter he met with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, whom Trump has of­ten dis­par­aged for fail­ing to re­peal na­tional health care poli­cies cham­pi­oned by for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

But Trump de­clared that "my re­la­tion­ship is out­stand­ing, has been out­stand­ing" with McCon­nell and said the two "have the same agenda" — to re­form the coun­try's tax code and cut taxes by the end of the year, and next year again at­tempt to over­haul the health care law.

"The Repub­li­can party is very, very uni­fied," Trump said, de­spite a hand­ful of dis­si­dent Se­nate Repub­li­cans who de­railed the health care leg­is­la­tion. He blamed his leg­isla­tive fail­ures on ri­val Demo­cratic law­mak­ers, whom he de­scribed as "good at ob­struc­tion," but with "ter­ri­ble poli­cies."

Trump said he could fa­vor a "short-term deal" with Democrats to sta­bi­lize the coun­try's health care in­surance mar­kets and vowed the U.S. is "go­ing to get drug prices way down." Trump said he would soon an­nounce a plan to at­tack the coun­try's opi­oid ad­dic­tion cri­sis, which has killed tens of thou­sands of peo­ple.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­swers ques­tions with Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., in the Rose Gar­den at the White House, Oct. 16, 2017.

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