US Spy Agencies, FBI Probing Trump Team's Russia Calls, Officials Say

Feb 17, 2017, 00:21
US Spy Agencies, FBI Probing Trump Team's Russia Calls, Officials Say

President Trump, at a hastily arranged press conference Thursday, is expected to announce his new pick for Labor secretary after his original nominee withdrew from consideration.

"I would have directed him if he wasn't doing it", Mr Trump added.

The Trump camp denies having any untoward Russian contacts.

Trump insisted, however, that the only reason he asked for Flynn's resignation is because he "didn't tell our Vice President properly and then he said he didn't remember, so either way that wasn't very satisfactory to me".

"The press has become so dishonest, that if we don't talk about it we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people, a tremendous disservice, we have to talk about it", he said.

Trump described the press as "out of control" in their reporting of his administration - which he claimed was running like a "fine-tuned machine".

Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak following Trump's election, and denied for weeks that the December conversation involved sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Russia in response to its meddling in the USA election.

Flynn's sudden departure added to the turmoil surrounding Trump, whose approval ratings are at a historic low for a new president. "Russia is fake news", he said.

Trump was referring to an immigration measure to follow the one he signed last month that banned the entry into the USA of nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries and that federal courts have halted.

The alleged connections of Trump and members of his inner circle to the Kremlin continue to cause controversy.

"I don't mind bad stories, I can handle a bad story better than anybody, as long as it's true".

The Washington Post broke the story late on February 9 that Flynn "privately discussed USA sanctions against Russian Federation with that country's ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials", citing unnamed current and former officials.

"I would like an independent commission to be able to vet any information to decide whether it's suitable for public disclosure", he said. "But who knows what was said and whether there was anything in there that could compromise methods and sources".

"Any suggestion that the USA intelligence community is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true", the office said in a statement Wednesday night. "I know, on a bipartisan basis, they are taking this charge up".

"I don't think he did anything wrong; if anything, he did something right", he said.

After three-straight news conferences in which he only called on reporters from conservative outlets, Trump took questions from several well-known broadcast journalists.

"This is very new, because usually the administration is united and unified and quiet", he said. "I don't know what's in those conversations".

Trump said he had had intelligence briefings on the matter and, although he was not willing to divulge classified information, he could say that "nuclear holocaust would be like no other".

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