President Donald Trump provided a confusing answer when asked Monday about assigning a special prosecutor to investigate connections between his campaign and administration to Russia.
“I haven’t called Russia in 10 years,” he said, responding to a question from a pool reporter following his meeting with health insurance executives at the White House.
It was not clear whether Trump meant the Russian government, Russian business contacts, or other Russian individuals.
Trump held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in January.
He has repeatedly wavered on his past contacts with Russian individuals, at times saying he has no connections in Russia. Prior to the campaign, Trump said he had “done a lot of business with the Russians.”
During a news conference earlier this month, Trump said, “Russia is fake news.”
The calls for a special prosecutor to look into the Russia-related cloud hanging over the administration have intensified in recent days, after a New York Times report said Trump campaign officials were in repeated contact with Russian officials prior to the November election.
The Times report came after Trump asked for the resignation of Michael Flynn, his national security adviser, after questionable communications with a Russian ambassador prior to the president assuming office, and then misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the communications.
Trump’s White House has pushed back on the Times story, employing House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to denounce it as inaccurate.
US Intelligence agencies concluded that Russian intelligence made an effort to swing the US election in Trump’s favour, but it did not conclude that Trump or his campaign was involved in that effort.
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