Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 25 May 2019

Donald Trump: I never worked for Russia

The US president's claims come after media reports that the FBI opened an investigation after he fired the director

President Donald Trump walks off after speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. AP
President Donald Trump walks off after speaking with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. AP

American President Donald Trump has said claims he worked for the Kremlin are “a big fat hoax”.

The president’s comments come after the Washington Post reported that Mr Trump kept aides in the dark about the content of private meetings with his Russian counterpart. Separately, the New York Times reported that the FBI opened an investigation into whether Mr Trump was acting on Russia's behalf after he sacked the bureau's director in 2017.

Mr Trump said he “never worked for Russia” and that the suggestion was a disgrace.

On Saturday, Mr Trump insisted the FBI acted "for no reason & with no proof" when it opened an investigation in the wake of his firing of agency's director, James Comey, in May 2017.

The FBI investigation was subsequently 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.

No evidence has publicly emerged that President Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian officials, the Times said.

Mr Trump also said on Monday that he has rejected a proposal from a Republican ally in the Senate to temporarily reopen closed parts of the government to allow resumption of negotiations on a funding standoff.

As he left the White House for a trip to Louisiana, Mr Trump told reporters he did not agree with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's proposal to reopen the government for three weeks.

If talks fail during that period, Mr Graham said on Sunday, then Mr Trump could go ahead and declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and get money for a wall on the US-Mexico border – the issue that triggered the shutdown on December 22.

Mr Trump has held out the option of declaring a national emergency if he cannot get a deal with lawmakers. He said on Monday he was not looking to do so.

The federal government has been partially shut over Mr Trump's demand that a spending bill includes $5.7 billion to build a wall along the border with Mexico as he promised during his campaign. Democrats have refused further negotiations until the government is reopened.

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Updated: January 14, 2019 07:22 PM

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