Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Sen. Coons: Trump's 'Closeness' to Putin Is 'Alarming'

Sen. Coons: Trump's 'Closeness' to Putin Is 'Alarming'

A new report from the New York Times claimed Trump is being investigated for working with Russian Federation, which would be a potential national security threat if it is true.

Trump said it was the "most insulting" question he'd ever been asked.

He added, "I was very concerned by President Trump's steadfast and public refusal to embrace the conclusion of our own intelligence community that Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation had interfered in our 2016 election".

The Times reported the counterintelligence probe was sparked in part by growing alarm about Trump's behavior, including comments he made suggesting he fired Comey over the Russian Federation investigation, which is now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The case was then referred to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into whether Russian agents interfered with the 2016 election, the Times reported, adding that it is not clear whether the special counsel has continued that part of the investigation. "I do think what we can all agree on is that the Mueller investigation should reach its conclusion".

Trump also took the opportunity during the 25-minute interview to touch on several other topics including the government shutdown, the US-Mexico border, and a potential race against former Vice President Joe Biden.

"I know what was reported publicly in the media", he said.

Robert Mueller has spent 20 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election, and possible collusion between the Trump's campaign and Moscow.

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He said that the report only suggests that after Comey was sacked in May of 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department "very rashly" thought they found a crime of obstruction against Trump.

With Democrats taking over the House, though, Trump can expect that they will be launching investigations to find out exactly what the two men talked about. "I mean, it's so ridiculous", he told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, without directly denying the Post story.

The Post reported that Trump has gone to "extraordinary lengths" to hide details of his conversations with Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials. The report cited unnamed current and former US officials. "That meeting is up for grabs".

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times he had no knowledge of the counterintelligence inquiry but said that since it was opened a year and a half ago and they hadn't heard anything, apparently "they found nothing".

After a meeting with Mr Putin in Hamburg in 2017, Mr Trump took possession of his interpreter's notes, the paper says.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership". He says Deripaska himself and any companies he controls remain under sanctions. Deripaska has figured into the investigation due to his ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Warner and Johnson spoke on CNN's "State of the Union", while Coons and Graham appeared on "Fox News Sunday".

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