Trump Calls Russia Fake News in Presser
CHARLOTTE, NC — There are multiple reports tonight that retired Vice-Admiral Robert Harward has turned down President Trump’s offer to be the new National Security Adviser.
It comes as the President lashed out at the media today during a news conference, insisting his administration is not in chaos, accusing the media of reporting fake news and downplaying reports of his campaign having contact with Russian officials.
“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” said the President.
Trump met with the media to announce his latest pick for labor secretary. But the press conference quickly went a different direction.
“Tomorrow they will say Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,” said Trump. “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you you are dishonest people.”
The themes were familiar, but the press corps pressed the President on Russia, asking pointed questions on what former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn said to the Russian ambassador about U.S. sanctions before the administration took office, and reports the Trump campaign had extensive contact with the Russians during the election.
President Trump: “I told you who General Flynn obviously was dealing so that is one person he was dealing as he should have been,” said the President.
“During the election?” asked a reporter.
“No, no, nobody that I know of,” replied Trump.
“You’re not aware of any contact during the election?” pressed the reporter.
“How many times do I have to answer this question,” said Trump. “Russia is a ruse.”
“They actually want to conduct operations to undermine our government,” says former FBI Assistant Director Chris Swecker of the Russians. “They are not our friends.”
Swecker, now a lawyer based in Charlotte, says if the Trump campaign and administration did have contact with Russia, it’s what was discussed that will be at issue.
“It’s not illegal to talk to Russians,” he says. “It would be illegal to collaborate with a Russian intelligence officer, or provide them with information that would be helpful to them.”
The President is talking about investigating the intelligence community to try and control leaks to the press. Congress is calling for investigations of the Russian connections.
“It doesn’t really amount to much,” says Swecker. “What will amount to something is if the FBI finds evidence of espionage, leaking classified information, lying to the FBI.”
There are multiple reports that Flynn, who was asked to resign Monday night, lied to the FBI in an interview last month when he denied discussing sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador during an intercepted phone call before President Trump took office.