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

Kelowna dog ‘Alice’ to get surgery thanks to BC SPCA crowdfunding

With the surgery, Alice’s prognosis is ‘excellent,’ stated the BC SPCA

Suspicious item forces 47 to evacuate plane at Kelowna airport

Kelowna RCMP continue investigation of suspicious item on airplane

Kelowna man nearly drowns on Okanagan Lake

The victim is in serious yet stable condition but his condition has worsened since going to hospital

Suspected Lake Country wife killer appears in court

Lambertus “Bert” Westervelt is set to appear back in court on Sept. 17

Kelowna International Airport threat deemed non-credible

Kelowna RCMP continue investigation of suspicious item on airplane

Knife-wielding man tries to break into Okanagan retirement home

Seniors and staff shaken by incident and upset with RCMP response

Okanagan youth protest Tolko logging

Small group gathers outside Tolko head office

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Okanagan’s alleged “Deadpool” robber revealed

RCMP catch up with suspect following gas station robbery earlier this month

South Okanagan pays it forward to BC Wildfire Service firefighters

Community members thank Eagle Bluff firefighters through Tim Hortons donations

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Most Read