- The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Friday said the Russia investigation was “probably” undermining US-Russia relations.
- At the same time, Sanders said recent developments in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference were not the reason President Donald Trump canceled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- Both Trump and Putin were in Argentina on Friday for the G20 summit.
- Sanders said the meeting was canceled because of Russia’s recent aggression toward Ukraine.
In an audacious statement on President Donald Trump’s canceled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, on Friday said the special counsel’s Russia investigation was “probably” undermining US-Russia relations.
Trump on Thursday tweeted that his planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina was canceled over Russia’s recent aggression toward Ukraine, but reports surfaced Friday claiming the two leaders would have an “impromptu” rendezvous. The White House shortly thereafter denied those reports.
“The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax, which is hopefully now nearing an end, is doing very well,” Sanders said in a statement sent to INSIDER. “Unfortunately, it probably does undermine our relationship with Russia. However, the reason for our canceled meeting is Ukraine. Hopefully, that will be resolved soon so that productive conversations can begin.”
Russia last weekend fired on three Ukrainian ships in the Sea of Azov. The clash resulted in Russia seizing the Ukrainian vessels and detaining 24 Ukrainian sailors, who are still in captivity.
Sanders’ statement also comes a day after Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, said in open court he’d lied to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Walking back on his previous statements, Cohen said the discussions on the project lasted well into the 2016 campaign season.
Cohen claimed he’d lied out of “loyalty” to Trump and to be “consistent” with the president’s “political messaging.”
The discussions to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ultimately fell apart but at one point reportedly included an offer to provide Putin with a $US50 million penthouse in the building.
Cohen’s admissions came after a new plea deal agreement with the special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has vehemently rejected allegations his campaign colluded with Russia.
The president in a Friday-morning tweet said he might have “lightly looked” at doing some building in Russia.
Trump in the past repeatedly claimed he had no business dealings with the Russians or Putin.
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