One day after the New York Times made the claim, Fox New’s Jeanine Pirro posed the question to Trump in an interview on Saturday night, asking: ‘Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?’
‘I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,’ Trump replied. ‘I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written.’
‘It was a great insult, and the New York Times is a disaster as a paper,’ Trump said.
Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility
Citing unnamed former law enforcement officials, the Times reported that the FBI opened the combined criminal and counterintelligence probe into Trump in May of 2017.
Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, citing a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that sharply criticized Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
However, the FBI grew concerned that Trump was acting on behalf of Russian interests by firing Comey, the report claims.
Trump dismissed the notion in Saturday’s interview, but without ever directly denying that he was working as a secret agent for Russia.
Trump said he fired Comey because ‘he was a terrible liar, and he did a terrible job as the FBI director.’
‘And, obviously, nothing was found,’ Trump said of the alleged investigation.
Trump is seen delivering an address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday
No evidence has publicly emerged in the 20 months since Comey was fired that indicate Trump is a secret agent, or that he engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the Russian government.
‘I can tell you this, if you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else,’ Trump said.
Robert Mueller took over the FBI investigation when he was appointed special counsel soon after Comey’s firing. The overall investigation is looking into Russian election interference and whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russians, as well as possible obstruction of justice by Trump. The Times says it’s unclear whether Mueller is still pursuing the counterintelligence angle.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times he had no knowledge of the inquiry but said that since it was opened a year and a half ago and they hadn’t heard anything, apparently ‘they found nothing.’
Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians.
Trump also responded to a new report from the Washington Post claiming that he confiscated his translator’s notes about at least one of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and ordered the linguist not to discuss the conversations with other top U.S. officials.
Trump reportedly confiscated his translator’s notes after his first meeting with Putin in Hamburg (above). Present at the meeting were (left to right) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Russian translator, Putin, Trump, the US translator, and Rex Tillerson
Citing unnamed current and former U.S. officials, the Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump had taken extraordinary measures to conceal the contents of his meetings with Putin.
Timeline of Trump’s meetings with Putin
July 7, 2017: Trump and Putin meet for about two hours on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are present, as well as two translators.
July 7, 2017: After a banquet later the same day, Trump and Putin chat again for about an hour. This time only Putin’s interpreter is present.
November 2017: Trump and Putin shook hands and chatted informally at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) summit in Vietnam, but did not hold formal talks.
July 16, 2018: The two leaders met for a summit in Helsinki, Finland. They spoke privately for two hours, accompanied only by their respective translators.
November 2018: Trump had a brief conversation with Putin at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, but the two did not have a formal meeting.
The Post claims that Trump confiscated his translator’s notes after he and Putin first met in person on July 7, 2017 on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg.
The leaders spoke for about three hours, and then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the U.S. interpreter were present for the meeting, as well as Russian Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov and Putin’s translator.
‘I’m not keeping anything under wraps – I couldn’t care less, it’s so ridiculous,’ Trump fired back in the interview with Pirro. ‘Anybody could have listened to that meeting, it is open for grabs. The whole Russia thing it’s a hoax, it’s a total hoax, everybody knows it.’
‘Think of it, I had a one-on-one meeting with Putin, like I do with every other leader. I have many one-on-one, nobody ever says anything about it, but with Putin they say, ‘Oh what did they talk about?’ We talked about very positive things,’ Trump added, saying that Israel was among the topics discussed.
Trump also said: ‘The Washington Post, that’s basically the lobbyists for Amazon – [Jeff] Bezos has bigger problems than anybody right now, but Bezos uses that as his lobbyist.’