Date
24 May 2017
Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (not pictured) at the White House in Washington on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (not pictured) at the White House in Washington on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Trump denies asking Comey to drop probe; decries ‘witch hunt’

US President Donald Trump denied colluding with Russia during his 2016 election campaign or asking former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former national security adviser.

“No. No. Next question,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday when asked if he “in any way, shape or form” ever urged Comey, whom he fired on May 9, to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, Reuters reports.

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.

“This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Trump wrote.

Trump has long bristled at the notion that Russia played any role in his November election victory over Hillary Clinton.

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RC

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