NOBODY SAYS ANYTHING ON MODI MEET; PUTIN TALKS BECOME BIG DEAL: TRUMP
ATTACKING MEDIA Prez asks why nobody says anything on meetings with Modi
: Russia woes came back to haunt President Donald Trump as he deals with a government shutdown that’s become the longest in US history.
A new report said Trump had hidden details of his one-on-one interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin even from his senior officials. Frustrated by the lack of complete readouts of the interaction — two of them, including one in Helsinki in July 2018, had lasted hours — state and national security officials have sought to get more out of the interpreters who attended them, The Washington Post reported.
Trump pushed back in an interview with Fox News, saying details of the meeting are “up for grabs”, and wondered why no one asks about his meeting with other world leaders.
“I meet with (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi,” Trump said. “I meet with (Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe. I meet with all of them, but nobody says anything.”
He has met the two leaders several times bilaterally, and once trilaterally, on the sideline of the G-20 summit in Argentina last December.
“I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridiculous,” Trump said.
Trump also lashed out at a report by The New York Times on Friday that the FBI had launched a probe to determine if the president was working for the Russians or was under their influence. “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he said in the telephone interview to Fox News when asked about the NYT report, which he had already criticised and pushed back against in a series of tweets on Saturday. “I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written.”
Russian interference in the 2016 elections to tilt the scale for Trump has dogged him even before he took office, and he continues to battle it as revelations flow from indictments and court filings from Special Counsel Robert Muller and other investigations, such as the case involving Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer.
The reports came as a partial shutdown of the federal government entered 23rd day on Sunday. It’s now the longest in US history, impacting an estimated 800,000 employees who have either been furloughed or are working without pay.
US Congress passed a bill on Thursday to compensate them when the government reopens, but there are worries now that it could take a while. Some officials have flagged the possibility of it lasting into February, as both sides remained entrenched in their positions.
Trump said he wanted to negotiate. “I’m in the White House, waiting …”, he tweeted on Sunday.
There have been no public discussions with Democrats since he broke up the last round, abruptly saying “bye-bye”.
Trump has sought $5.7 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration — he is now calling it a steel barrier—but Democrats have refused, calling it “immoral”. They are prepared to grant him $1.3 billion for border security, but not for any structure.
Lawmakers on both sides are trying to work on compromise packages to end the stalemate and open the government but without any success yet.
Demonstrators hold illuminated letter signs that read ‘treason’ outside the White House. n