Both mocking and denouncing news reports that the FBI has investigated him for being under Russian influence, President Donald Trump found himself denying Monday that he has ever been under Russia’s thumb.
“I never worked for Russia,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House en route to an agriculture speech in New Orleans, adding that the question itself was a “disgrace” and that accusations against him are “a whole big fat hoax.”
Earlier, citing a Fox News report on lower gas prices being the result of more oil production, the president tweeted: “But this is bad news for Russia, why would President Trump do such a thing? Thought he worked for Kremlin?”
Trump’s tweet came days after The New York Times reported that the FBI had begun a counter-intelligence investigation on Trump to see if he had been influenced by Russia and its president Vladimir Putin when he fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017.
The Washington Post then reported that Trump has concealed many of the details of his conversations with Putin, even from aides and U.S. intelligence officials.
Asked about the Post report that he had seized notes from his interpreter after a 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Trump called it “fake news.” House Democrats, however, have talked about issuing a subpoena for the interpreter to testify about Trump’s actions.
Trump also accused Comey and other FBI officials of being “dirty cops” and “known scoundrels” who were politically biased against him and launched investigations of him as a result.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and whether the Trump campaign was somehow involved.
Trump has denounced the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt,” and has constantly attacked media coverage of it.
Over the weekend, Fox News host and Trump supporter Jeanine Pirro, asked Trump: “Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?”
Trump replied: “I think it’s 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’d see that they found absolutely nothing.”
Congressional Democrats, meanwhile, said Trump’s relationship with Russia needs to be looked into.
“Why is he so chummy with Vladimir Putin, this man who is a former KGB agent, never been a friend to the United States, invaded our allies, threatens us around the world, and tries his damndest to undermine our elections?” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., speaking on ABC’s This Week.
“Why is this President Trump’s best buddy?” Durbin said. “I don’t get it.”
Previously: Trump calls NYT report on FBI fear that he worked for Russia ‘most insulting article’ ever
Putin meetings: President Trump went to ‘extraordinary lengths’ to hide details, report says