- President Donald Trump told reporters on Saturday that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians during the 2016 election.
- The comment came after the special counsel’s office announced Friday that it had charged former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the Russia investigation.
- Flynn is the fourth person in Trump’s circle to be charged.
President Donald Trump spoke out on Saturday morning about the special counsel’s office’s announcement that it had charged former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the Russia investigation.
The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is tasked with spearheading the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the election in his favour.
Mueller’s office charged Flynn on Friday with one count of making false statements to federal investigators about his conversations last December with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to the US. Flynn pleaded guilty to the count – a likely indication that he has flipped and is now a cooperating witness in Mueller’s probe.
Responding to the news on Saturday, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, “What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion.”
“There has been absolutely no collusion,” Trump added.
The president’s remarks came after multiple media reports said that a “very senior” Trump transition official had “directed” Flynn to contact the Russians during the transition period.
Flynn is the fourth individual in Trump’s circle to be charged in Mueller’s investigation. The special counsel’s office announced in late October that it had charged former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his longtime associate, Rick Gates, with 12 counts related to money laundering, tax fraud, conspiring against the US, and failing to disclose their work as foreign agents.
Investigators also extracted a guilty plea over the summer from George Papadopoulos, who served as an early foreign-policy adviser to the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to federal agents about his contacts with Russians during the campaign.
Trump reiterated the claim that there had been no collusion between his campaign and Russia after the charges against Manafort and Gates were announced in October.
“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” Trump tweeted. “But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????”
“Also, there is NO COLLUSION!” he added.
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