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Trump Denies Asking Comey to Drop Probe
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) turns to House Speaker Paul Ryan (2ndR) as he gathers with Congressional Republicans in the Rose Garden of the White House after the House of Representatives approved the American Healthcare Act, to repeal major parts of Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, in Washington, U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Friday, 19 May, 2017 | 08:16 WIB
Trump Denies Asking Comey to Drop Probe

TEMPO.CO, Washington - The United States President Donald Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday after days of political tumult, denied colluding with Russia during his 2016 campaign or asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser.

"No. No. Next question," Trump told a news conference when asked if he "in any way, shape or form" ever urged Comey, whom he fired on May 9, to close down the investigation into Michael Flynn.

Comey's firing was one in a series of jarring developments that culminated on Wednesday in the Justice Department's appointment of a special counsel to probe possible ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

They included media reports that Trump discussed sensitive intelligence on Islamic State with Russia's foreign minister.

In a pair of morning tweets and at a later news conference, Trump described calls for his impeachment as "ridiculous" and said he had done nothing to warrant criminal charges.

"The entire thing has been a witch hunt and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign - but I can always speak for myself - and the Russians. Zero," he said at a news conference with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Asked if he thought he had done anything to warrant criminal charges or impeachment as some on the left have demanded, the Republican president replied: "I think it's totally ridiculous."

Trump categorically denied he asked Comey to drop his probe of Flynn, whom he fired on Feb. 14 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence, about the extent of his conversations last year with Russia's ambassador.

According to multiple media reports, Comey wrote a memo detailing Trump's comments to him in February saying: "I hope you can let this go," referring to the Flynn probe.

In his earlier twitter posts, Trump decried the naming of Robert Mueller, a respected former FBI director, as a special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an official he himself appointed.

"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!" Trump wrote on Thursday morning. He did not offer any evidence of such acts in his reference to Democratic former President Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" added Trump.

Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies' conclusion that it interfered in the election campaign to try to tilt the vote in Trump's favor. Trump has long bristled at the notion that Russia played any role in his November election victory over Clinton.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Flynn and other Trump campaign advisers were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the presidential race.

REUTERS



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