US President Donald Trump blasted recent reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times that raised questions about his private meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and revealed an FBI investigation into his behaviour after he fired FBI Director James Comey.
During a phone interview on “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that the stories were “all nonsense.”
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Trump had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to conceal the specifics of his conversations with Putin.
According to the Post, on at least one occasion Trump confiscated notes from the interpreter present at meetings between the two leaders and instructed them not to discuss the details of the conversations with other administration officials.
There is “no detailed record, even in classified files” of Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Putin, the Post reported.
When asked by Pirro about the story, Trump said he and Putin had “a great conversation.”
“I’m not keeping anything under wraps, I couldn’t care less. I mean, it’s so ridiculous. These people make it up,” Trump said.
He compared his conversations with Putin to what “every president does — you sit with the president of various countries.”
Strobe Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state to President Bill Clinton, called Trump’s secrecy surrounding the meetings “unusual” and “outrageous,” according to the Post.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called the Post’s report “inaccurate” in a statement.
The Washington Post story is the second outlet in 24 hours to highlight Trump’s unusual dealings with Russia and its leader.
On Friday, the New York Times published a story about an FBI probe into Trump’s behaviour following his firing of former FBI Director James Comey. According to the newspaper, law enforcement officials were so concerned they began investigating whether the President was working on behalf of Russia against US interests.
Sanders called the report “absurd.”
“James Comey was fired because he’s a disgraced partisan hack, and his Deputy Andrew McCabe, who was in charge at the time, is a known liar fired by the FBI,” Sanders said.
Asked by Pirro if he’d ever worked on behalf of Russia, Trump did not directly answer the question. Instead, he said, “I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked. I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written. And if you read the article, you’d see that they found absolutely nothing.
Trump went on to say that no president has taken a harder stance against Russia than he has.
“If you ask the folks in Russia, I’ve been tougher on Russia than anybody else, any other … probably any other president, period, but certainly the last three or four presidents.”
TRUMP HITS BACK
Trump began responding to the New York Times report with an angry stream of tweets aimed at the FBI on Saturday.
“Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!”
The reports, and Trump’s harsh criticisms of them, come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election continues. Trump repeated to Pirro his frequent criticism that the investigation is a “hoax.”
Trump also took the opportunity during the 25-minute interview to touch on several other topics including the government shutdown, the US-Mexico border, and a potential race against former Vice President Joe Biden.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019