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

RCMP: Appledale homicide investigation still active

A 59-year-old man was found dead on May 20

Brrrrring in the New Year with the Polar Bear Swim

Kootenay Co-op Radio teams up with local stewardship groups for annual dip

Nelson Community Food Centre celebrates with Festive Food Days

The idea is to share healthful, festive food over the holidays with people not able to afford it.

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to leader’s surprise resignation

The resignation of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer caught members of his caucus by surprise

Kootenay-Columbia MP talks throne speech, USMCA trade deal

Rob Morrison to open constituency office in Cranbrook at 800C Baker St. on Dec. 19

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Drug alert for purple fentanyl issued in Kamloops

Interior Health issued an alert for the deadly drug on Friday

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Most Read