President Donald Trump on Monday denied working as a sleeper agent for Russia, as he rejected a possible suggestion to end the record-setting government shutdown put forward by a Republican legislator.
‘I HAVE NEVER WORKED FOR RUSSIA”
Taking a step he had declined to take in a friendly weekend interview on Fox News, Trump declared to reporters before a trip to New Orleans that “I never worked for Russia.” He also called it a “disgrace” that he was even asked. The New York Times reported that the FBI opened an inquiry into whether Trump was secretly working on behalf of Russia, after the firing as FBI director of James Comey. No evidence has emerged publicly that Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials.
Trump said that those who opened the investigation were “dirty cops” and that the allegations a “big hoax.”
He also played down the Washington Post revelation that he concealed details of his one-on-one meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting that he’s had one-on-one meetings with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe without controversy.
NOT INTERESTED IN GRAHAM SUGGESTION
The president rejected an idea brought to him by Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, to reopen the government while discussing what to do about border protection. “I’m not interested,” Trump said Monday. “I wanted to get it solved; I don’t want to just delay it.”
He also said Democrats were “breaking” while Republicans were “rock solid.” A handful of House Republicans have voted with Democrats to fund different government agencies that are currently locked out, and a few Senate Republicans have said they would do likewise. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware is one of the few congressional Democrats to suggest he could live with funding for a wall on the southern border, saying it’s not, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls it, “immoral.”
Trump also poured cold water on the idea he could declare a national emergency to fund a border wall. “I’m not looking to call a national emergency,” he said, before saying he had the “absolute, legal right do that.”
On trade talks, Trump spoke optimistically. U.S. stocks
have moved in line with the president’s assessment of negotiations with the world’s second largest economy.
“We’re doing very well with China,” Trump said, before comparing China’s economic situation with that of the U.S. “They are having a hard time because of the tariffs.”
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