Trump re­jects re­port that he hid de­tails of Putin meet­ings

The Asian Age - - Front Page - CAR­LOS HA­MANN

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.

Mr Trump, in a tele­phone in­ter­view late 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 Mr Putin, even con­fis­cat­ing the notes of his in­ter­preter and or­der­ing that per­son to not dis­cuss what was said.

Mr Trump said he had “a great con­ver­sa­tion” with Mr Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.

When asked why not re­lease de­tails of the nearly two- hour con­ver­sa­tion, Mr 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 Mr Trump’s per­sonal talks with Mr Putin at five lo­ca­tions over the past two years.

The news­pa­per quotes un­named cur­rent and for­mer gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials as sources for the story.

Wash­ing­ton, Jan. 13: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blasted the FBI on Satur­day, in­sist­ing it acted “for no rea­son & with no proof” when it opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether he was act­ing on Rus­sia’s be­half after he fired the agency’s di­rec­tor, James Comey, in May 2017.

The New York Times re­ported that the FBI launched the pre­vi­ously undis­closed coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine if Trump posed a na­tional se­cu­rity threat.

“Wow, just learned in the Fail­ing New York Times that the cor­rupt for­mer lead­ers of the FBI, al­most all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad rea­sons, opened up an in­ves­ti­ga­tion on me, for no rea­son & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a to­tal sleaze!” Trump tweeted.

Ac­cord­ing to Trump, “the FBI was in com­plete tur­moil... be­cause of Comey’s poor lead­er­ship” and the way he han­dled the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hillary Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate server to send some gov­ern­ment emails.

“My fir­ing of James Comey was a great day for Amer­ica,” Trump said, de­scrib­ing the for­mer FBI di­rec­tor as “a Crooked Cop who is be­ing to­tally pro­tected by his best friend, Bob Mueller.”

Such stan­dard re­ac­tions from Trump “do noth­ing to ad­dress the in­cred­i­bly se­ri­ous na­ture of these al­le­ga­tions,” said Demo­cratic Con­gress­man Jer­rold Nadler, Chair­man of the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

“There is no rea­son to doubt the se­ri­ous­ness or pro­fes­sion­al­ism of the FBI,” Nadler said in a state­ment which said his com­mit­tee “will take steps to bet­ter un­der­stand both the pres­i­dent’s ac­tions and the FBI’s re­sponse to that be­hav­ior, and to make cer­tain that these ca­reer in­ves­ti­ga­tors are pro­tected from Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­creas­ingly un­hinged at­tacks.” The Times said that the FBI had been sus­pi­cious of Trump’s ties to Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign.

But it held off on open­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­til the pres­i­dent sacked Comey, who re­fused to pledge al­le­giance to Trump and roll back the nascent Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Trump has re­peat­edly crit­i­cized the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt” and views it as an at­tempt to be­smirch the le­git­i­macy of his pres­i­dency.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, who was CIA di­rec­tor at the time the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched, de­clined to com­ment on The New York Times re­port, but in­sisted in an in­ter­view with CBS that “the no­tion that Pres­i­dent Trump is a threat to Amer­i­can na­tional se­cu­rity is ab­so­lutely lu­di­crous.” Mueller has in­dicted 33 peo­ple, in­clud­ing mem­bers of Rus­sia’s GRU mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence, and chalked up con­vic­tions against some of the pres­i­dent’s close as­so­ciates.

Trump Putin

Don­ald Trump

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