President Donald Trump slammed The New York Times during a press conference on Thursday, claiming its story on contacts between his aides and Russian officials had been “discredited.”
The Times reported earlier this week that intercepted phone calls showed that members of Trump’s campaign had multiple communications with senior Russian intelligence officials before the US election.
“The failing New York Times wrote a big, long front-page story yesterday and it was very much discredited, as you know,” Trump said. “It’s a joke.”
Trump also said the people mentioned in the Times story said it wasn’t true.
“And the people mentioned in the story, I notice they were on television today saying they never even spoke to Russia,” Trump said. “They weren’t even a part, really, I mean they were such a minor part, they, I hadn’t spoken to them, I think the one person, I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him, I don’t think I’ve ever met him, and he actually said he was a very low-level member of I think a committee for a short period of time.”
He continued: “I don’t think I ever met him. Now it’s possible I walked into a room and he was sitting there, but I don’t think I’ve ever met him. And he thought it was a joke.”
Trump later railed against leaks from sources in the government. He said the leaks are “real,” but the “news is fake.”
When asked if he could definitively say that his campaign had no contact with Russia, he responded: “Well, I had nothing to do with it.”