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US President Donald Trump arrives to speak aboard the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier in  Newport News, Virginia, on March 2.
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak aboard the USS Gerald R Ford aircraft carrier in  Newport News, Virginia, on March 2.

Trump Slams Democrats Over “Witch Hunt”

Trump calls revelations about attorney general’s contact with Russian ambassador “total witch hunt”, as Democrats continue to demand Jeff Sessions step down
Trump’s White House has lobbied the FBI, reportedly the CIA and two Republicans who head committees leading investigations into Russia’s election meddling to knock down media reports on the alleged links

Trump Slams Democrats Over “Witch Hunt”

US President Donald Trump lashed out at Democrats over their demands for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, calling their actions a “total witch hunt”.
Sessions on Thursday announced he would rescue himself from any probe into the presidential election campaign as the White House moved to forestall a snowballing controversy over its ties to Russia, AFP reported.
Following newly revealed meetings he held with Russia’s ambassador before the election, Sessions denied any impropriety or that he lied about those encounters in his Senate confirmation hearing.
The Republican US president declared his “total” confidence in Sessions while adding that he “wasn’t aware” of contacts between Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Sessions, who was a senator actively supporting Trump’s campaign at the time.
He defended Sessions again in a statement late on Wednesday, calling Sessions an “honest man” and accusing Democrats of having “lost their grip on reality” and carrying out “a total witch hunt!”
Sessions “did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional.”
Unswayed by Sessions’s account of events, top Democrats are maintaining their calls for him to step down immediately, accusing him of perjury.
They also called for an independent prosecutor to investigate contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow, which US intelligence says interfered in the election to hurt Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Adam Schiff, a Democratic ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, rejected Sessions’s claim that his contacts with Kislyak were unrelated to his work with the Trump campaign as “simply not credible”.
“In the midst of a Russian campaign aimed at undermining our election and as a highly visible proxy for candidate Trump, Sessions would have had to be extraordinarily naive or gullible to believe that the ambassador was seeking him out in his office for a discussion on military matters and Sessions is neither,” he said in a statement.
“I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the attorney general should step down,” he said, echoing calls made earlier by top Democrats in both chambers of the Republican-controlled Congress.

  Focus on Russian Diplomat
Trump has come under increasing pressure over Russia’s interference in the election and alleged contacts between his entourage and Moscow.
According to officials, US intelligence agencies and the Federal Bureau of Investigation continue to investigate how much Moscow intruded into US politics and whether that effort involved collusion with the Trump campaign.
Four congressional committees have opened probes into the issue, although Democrats fear that Republicans will seek to bury their investigations to protect Trump’s young administration.
Two weeks ago, Trump’s newly appointed national security advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign amid controversy over his discussions with Kislyak in late December, when the Obama administration was hitting Moscow with retaliatory sanctions and expulsions for its election interference.
While meetings between political campaigns and diplomats are generally common, on Thursday a Clinton spokesman said there were no meetings or calls between her team and any Russian official during the campaign.
The New York Times reported two weeks ago, citing US intelligence sources, that three Trump campaign staff had communicated with Russian intelligence officers over the past year.
The White House labeled that report “false” and has accused Democrats, the media and the intelligence community of a political effort to undermine the Trump administration.
Trump’s White House has lobbied the FBI, reportedly the CIA and two Republicans who head committees leading investigations into Russia’s election meddling, to knock down media reports on the alleged links.
That added to Democrats’ worries that investigations could be tainted and lawmakers were pressing for an independent counsel to be named to study the web of allegations about Trump and Russia free from political interference.

 

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