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Trump Tweets That Russians Must Find Probe Into Potential Election Interference Amusing

President Trump, continuing to deny that his campaign team conspired with Russia to interfere with last year’s election, suggested Tuesday that the Kremlin considers the allegation a joke.

“Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News,” the president tweeted, according to The Hill. It was not the first time he has accused Democrats of fabricating the collusion charge because they are upset about Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Trump calls investigations by the Justice Department, FBI and Congress a “witch hunt” designed to drive him out of office. He recently slammed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to probe the alleged Russian connections.

The latest Trump associate to come under fire for having links to Russia is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser. Last weekend, reports surfaced that Kushner reached out to Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December. He allegedly asked the envoy, Sergei Kislyak, to set up a “back channel” to allow Trump’s transition team to secretly communicate with the Russian government. Kushner also met in December with Sergey Gorkov, an executive at a Kremlin-owned bank.

The administration was already reeling from testimony that former CIA Director John Brennan gave to the House Intelligence Committee last week. Brennan told lawmakers he recommended an FBI investigation because of the large number of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

Politico reported that investigators are also scrutinizing Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, a former Trump Organization employee who resigned in January. He has continued to serve the president as a private attorney. On Tuesday, Cohen denied a congressional committee’s demand for information. “I declined the invitation to participate as the request was poorly phrased, overly broad and not capable of being answered,” he explained to Politico.

In April, the Republican National Committee appointed Cohen to the party’s financial advisory group. The lawyer has since met with the president and members of his administration at the White House, to craft their strategy for dealing with the Russian scandal. According to The New York Times, Cohen gave Trump a proposal to end the sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in retaliation for tampering with the election. However, the lawyer insisted in the Politico interview: “I have never met with any Russian, Kremlin officials. I have never been to Russia.”

Among the members of Trump’s inner circle who allegedly have had contacts with representatives of the Russian government are former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to step down in February; former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who resigned three months before the election; and campaign advisers Michael Caputo, Roger Stone and Carter Page.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as a U.S. senator and Trump campaign adviser last year, met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Flynn’s December conversations with the ambassador allegedly included a promise that the incoming administration would repeal the sanctions on Russia. Flynn reportedly received payments from Russia and Turkey while he was working for the transition team and administration.

Source: The Hill
Photo: The Hill Screenshot

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