In Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump assailed his critics Thursday over a series of scandals that have rocked his administration, calling an investigation into alleged ties between Russia and Trump associates a “witch hunt.” Speaking at a White House news conference alongside Colombia’s president, Trump said he respected the Justice Department’s decision to name a special counsel to the investigation, but denied he personally colluded with Russia.
President Donald Trump: “Well, I respect the move, but 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.”
Asked if he urged former FBI Director James Comey to close or to back down on the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, the president responded flatly, “No.” The statement directly contradicts a memo Comey drafted after a February 14 Oval Office meeting, in which Trump reportedly asked Comey to end the investigation into Flynn’s ties to Russian officials. On Thursday, The New York Times published new details of Comey’s interactions with the president before Trump fired him on May 9. The Times reports Trump called Comey weeks before his inauguration, urging him to state publicly that Trump was not personally under investigation.