On January 14, asked outside the White House if he was working for Russia, President Trump denied it outright before adding: “I think it’s a disgrace that you even ask that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax.”
President Trump was posed the same question by a Fox News host on January 12, and called it “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked”.
The New York Times notes in its own report no evidence has emerged publicly that President Trump took direction from Russian government officials.
On January 13, the president said his dismissal of James Comey was “a great service I did for our country”, while railing against FBI investigators as “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops”.
It was also reported at the weekend that President Trump had confiscated the notes of his own interpreter after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the Washington Post, President Trump ordered the translator not to discuss the details of what was said.
However, on January 14, President Trump defended his nearly hour long discussion with President Putin in July 2017 on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
“It’s a lot of fake news,” he said, as he left to address a farming convention in New Orleans.
“That was a very good meeting. It was actually a very successful meeting.”
President Trump said he and Vladimir Putin discussed Israel and a German-Russian pipeline, adding: “We have those meetings all the time no big deal.”
ABC News reports that Democratic congressmen are considering issuing subpoenas to interpreters who attended President Trump’s meetings with Vladimir Putin.
On January 14, former Democratic White House candidate Hillary Clinton could not resist reminding Twitter users that during a campaign debate she had called Donald Trump the Russian leader’s puppet.
President Donald Trump has responded to those criticizing his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Writing on Twitter, President Trump condemned “haters” who did not want him getting along with Vladimir Putin, saying they suffered from “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.
President Trump said he misspoke at the press conference with President Putin.
He had sided with the Russian leader over his own intelligence services on claims of Russian election meddling.
That had sparked outrage from both sides of the political divide.
In a series of tweets, President Trump said: “So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”
Later, he added: “Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”
The tweets came a day after he said he had missed out a word when appearing to support Vladimir Putin’s claim that there was no Russian involvement in the 2016 US presidential election.
President Trump said he accepted his intelligence services’ assessment that Russia had interfered.
The controversy centers on a response he gave to a question at a news conference on July 16 following the summit with President Putin.
The AP reporter asked at the news conference: “President Putin denied having anything to do with the election interference in 2016. Every US intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you, sir, is, who do you believe?”
President Trump responded: “My people came to me… they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
President Trump said he had reviewed the transcript and realized he needed to clarify.
He said: “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word <<would>> instead of <<wouldn’t>>.
“The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t’ or ‘why it wouldn’t be Russia’. Sort of a double negative.”
President Trump added: “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
Staff in the embassy in Moscow as well as the consulates in Ekaterinburg, Vladivostok and St. Petersburg are affected.
Vladimir Putin did strike a conciliatory note, saying he did not want to impose more measures, but also said he could not see ties changing “anytime soon”.
The president told Russian TV: “More than 1,000 people were working and are still working” at the US embassy and consulates, and that “755 people must stop their activities in Russia.”
Russia has also said it is seizing holiday properties and a warehouse used by US diplomats.
Vladimir Putin suggested he could consider more measures, but said: “I am against it as of today.”
The Russian president also noted the creation of a de-escalation zone in southern Syria as an example of a concrete result of working together.
However, in terms of general relations, Vladimir Putin added: “We have waited long enough, hoping that the situation would perhaps change for the better.
“But it seems that even if the situation is changing, it’s not for anytime soon.”
The new US sanctions were in retaliation both for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Russian interference in the US election.
In December, the Obama administration ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and expelled 35 Russian diplomats in response to alleged hacking of the US Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The new US sanctions on Russia were overwhelmingly approved by both houses of Congress despite objections from the White House.
US intelligence agencies believe Russia tried to sway the election in favor of President Donald Trump and now there are several investigations looking into whether anyone from his campaign helped.
Russia has always denied interfering and Donald Trump insists there was no collusion.
Other topics discussed during their meeting – which lasted nearly two-and-a-quarter hours, longer than originally planned – included the war in Syria, terrorism and cybersecurity.
Image NBC News
Rex Tillerson, part of the US delegation, told reporters afterwards: “The president opened the meeting with President Putin by raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
“They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject. The president pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement.
“President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has done in the past.”
Rex Tillerson said the two leaders had “connected very quickly”, adding: “There was a very clear positive chemistry between the two. There are so many issues on the table… Just about everything got touched upon… Neither one of them wanted to stop.
“I believe they even sent in the First Lady [Melania Trump] at one point to see if she could get us out of there, but that didn’t work either… We did another hour. Clearly she failed!”
Sergei Lavrov told reporters: “President Trump said he heard clear statements… that Russian authorities did not intervene [in the US election], and he accepted these declarations.”
Rex Tillerson was asked as he was leaving the news conference if this was accurate, but declined to answer.
Earlier, as the talks began in front of the media before going into private session, President Trump told President Putin: “It’s an honor to be with you.”
President Putin replied: “I’m delighted to meet you personally.”
Donald Trump added: “Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well.
“We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue. We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned.”
Vladimir Putin, via a translator, said that while they had previously spoken by phone, that would never be as good as meeting face to face.
The G20 (Group of Twenty) is a summit for 19 countries, both developed and developing, plus the EU.
President Donald Trump has urged Russia to stop “destabilizing” Ukraine and other countries and end support for “hostile regimes” such as those in Syria and Iran.
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, Donald Trump urged Russia to “join the community of responsible nations”.
Russia rejected the president’s comments.
Image source AP
Donald Trump has traveled to Hamburg for the G20 summit, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time.
The president also faces differences with other leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said last week that the G20 would focus on the Paris climate deal – which the US has withdrawn from.
Up to 100,000 protesters are expected over the two-day event and police have warned of potentially violent clashes. They have already confiscated a number of homemade weapons.
In Warsaw, President Trump argued that the future of Western civilization itself was at stake and asked whether the West had the “will to survive”.
He urged Russia to join the “fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself”.
Donald Trump also hailed Poland as an example of a country ready to defend Western freedoms.
Poland’s conservative government shares President Trump’s hostile view of immigration and strong sense of sovereignty.