President Donald Trump talks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Trump denies ever working for Russia, blasts investigators

U.S. president called the question ‘insulting’

President Donald Trump on Monday denied he ever worked for Russia against U.S. interests, addressing an extraordinary question that has haunted his presidency and shows no sign of going away.

Speaking from the South Lawn, Trump issued a flat denial: “I never worked for Russia.” He blasted former FBI and Justice Department officials and repeated his claim that the investigation into his ties to Moscow is a hoax.

Trump raised eyebrows over the weekend when he didn’t directly answer the Russia question in an interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a personal friend.

He was asked about a New York Times report that law enforcement officials began investigating, in 2017, whether Trump had been working on behalf of Russia against U.S. interests.

Trump said the question was “insulting,” but did not directly deny it.

Monday’s clear denial demonstrated the unprecedented pressure Trump faces as the special counsel’s Russia investigation shows possible signs of wrapping up. After two years in office, the president is still being questioned about whether he was compromised by Russian intelligence agencies and he is still struggling to answer clearly.

White House aides expressed regret over the weekend that the president did not more clearly and forcefully deny being a Russian agent on Saturday when asked by the usually friendly Fox News host, according to three White House aides and Republicans close to the White House. The three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

When Pirro asked if he had ever worked for Russia, Trump said it was “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked.”

“I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written, and if you read the article you’ll see that they found absolutely nothing,” he said.

Trump went on to assert that no president has taken a harder stance against Russia than he has.

“If you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other … probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents,” he said.

On Monday, Trump also defended his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, a move that has drawn Mueller’s scrutiny. Trump called the Russia probe “a whole big fat hoax.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with the Russians. He also is investigating possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

READ MORE: Trump says he has ‘no idea’ if deal can be made with Pelosi

READ MORE: No easy way out? Trump boxed in by politics amid shutdown

__

AP writers Zeke Miller and Catherine Lucey contributed to the story.

Darlene Superville And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

ELECTION DAY: Lacombe-Ponoka heads to the polls

Voters came out to the Lacombe Memorial Centre to pick the next MLA of Lacombe-Ponoka

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

Person airlifted to hospital after avalanche in Yoho National Park has died

The man was among a party of three involved in an avalanche Saturday afternoon

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Most Read