Trump re­jects re­port he hid de­tails of Putin meet

AT­TACK­ING ME­DIA Prez seethes at re­port of counter-in­tel­li­gence probe on him

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Agence France-presse let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

WASH­ING­TON: United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has re­jected a Wash­ing­ton Post re­port that he has re­fused to share de­tails of his con­ver­sa­tions with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin with top US gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Trump, in a tele­phone in­ter­view on Satur­day with Fox News, dis­missed as “ridicu­lous” the Post story that al­leged he went to great lengths to hide the con­tent of his talks with Putin, even con­fis­cat­ing the notes of his in­ter­preter and or­der­ing that per­son to not dis­cuss what was said. Trump said he had “a great con­ver­sa­tion” with Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.

When asked why not re­lease de­tails of the nearly two-hour con­ver­sa­tion, Trump said: “I would, I don’t with care.

“I mean, I had a con­ver­sa­tion like ev­ery pres­i­dent does. You sit with the pres­i­dent of var­i­ous coun­tries... We were talk­ing about Is­rael and se­cur­ing Is­rael and lots of other things ... I’m not keep­ing any­thing un­der wraps, I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridicu­lous.”

He added: “Any­body could have lis­tened to that meet­ing, that meet­ing is up for grabs.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Post, there is no de­tailed record of Trump’s per­sonal talks with Putin at five lo­ca­tions over the past two years. The news­pa­per quotes un­named cur­rent and for­mer gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials as sources for the story.

Trump also told Fox when asked about Putin that “no col­lu­sion” has been found be­tween his 2016 cam­paign and Rus­sia, that he was a bet­ter can­di­date than Demo­crat Hillary Clin­ton, that the US econ­omy “is the strong­est in the world,” and that The Wash­ing­ton Post is “ba­si­cally the lob­by­ist for Ama­zon,” as both are owned by bil­lion­aire Jeff Be­zos.

Trump also took aim at an ear­lier story in The New York Times stat­ing that the FBI launched a pre­vi­ously undis­closed coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine whether he posed a na­tional se­cu­rity threat, at the same time that it opened a crim­i­nal probe into pos­si­ble ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

The FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion was later folded into the broader probe by Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller into Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion and pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion by the Trump cam­paign. Fox asked if he had ever worked for Rus­sia. “I think it’s the most in­sult­ing thing I’ve ever been asked,” he said, with­out di­rectly an­swer­ing the ques­tion.

He slammed the Times story as “the most in­sult­ing ar­ti­cle I’ve ever had writ­ten and if you read the ar­ti­cle, you’d see that they found ab­so­lutely noth­ing.”

No ev­i­dence has pub­licly e merged t hat Trump was se­cretly in con­tact with or took di­rec­tion from Rus­sian of­fi­cials, the Times said.

The FBI had been sus­pi­cious of Trump’s ties to Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, but it held off on open­ing a probe un­til the pres­i­dent sacked Comey, who re­fused to roll back the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the Times said.

Mueller has in­dicted 33 peo­ple in the probe and con­victed some of the pres­i­dent’s close as­so­ciates. Trump’s ex-na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vi­sor, Michael Flynn, has pleaded guilty to ly­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tors about his Moscow ties.

Trump’s for­mer per­sonal lawyer, Michael Co­hen, has been sen­tenced to three years in prison for mul­ti­ple crimes, in­clud­ing felony vi­o­la­tions of cam­paign fi­nance laws.

BLOOMBERG

Demon­stra­tors hold il­lu­mi­nated let­ter signs that read ‘trea­son’ out­side the White House.

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