Trump: Russia inquiry distracts from running the US 'really, really well' – as it happened

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9.52pm BST

Trump has wrapped up his press conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, and we’re wrapping up our liveblog coverage here. Some key moments from today:

9.40pm BST

“That was a poor, poor performance,” Trump says of Comey’s testimony, cites it as a reason why Comey was fired from FBI post.

Trump: “Director Comey was very unpopular with most people. I actually thought when I made that decision… That it would be a bipartisan decision.”

9.36pm BST

On impeachment: “I think it’s totally ridiculous, everyone thinks so. I think we’ve got to get back to working our country properly.”

Trump adds that “millions and millions of people out there that are looking at what you’ve just said and have said ‘what are they doing’”.

9.33pm BST

Trump, asked if he at any point urged former FBI director Comey “in any way shape or form to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn”.
Trump interrupts reporter’s followup question and replies “No. No. Next question.”

9.29pm BST

President Santos fully ducks a question on whether or not the border wall will help stop the the drug trade between the US and Colombia.

Trump adds, without prompting: “Walls work, just ask Israel.”

9.27pm BST

Trump on Mueller appointment: “There is no collusion.. I can only speak for myself and the Russians – zero.”
*can only speak for myself*

9.27pm BST

Senate Dems quickly lining up against Lieberman as FBI pick https://t.co/ywqTMo7yHZ pic.twitter.com/M3IOhwhPu8

9.23pm BST

“I respect the move but the entire move has been a witch-hunt,” Trump says of the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate his administration and campaign’s ties to Russia.

“I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things.”

“There’s no collusion. Russia is fine,” Trump says.

9.20pm BST

Trump now taking questions.

“Does anyone have any questions,” President Trump asks. Yes, we do. “I’m shocked.”

9.17pm BST

Our Ben Jacobs’ take on the Senate’s closed-door briefing from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein:

Major news line out of the Rosenstein briefing was that he knew before drafting the memo that Trump was going to fire Comey

9.14pm BST

“It is a very very horrible problem”, Trump says of the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. “From a humanitarian standpoint it’s like nothing we’ve seen in a very long time.”

9.12pm BST

Trump identified the boarder wall as a “major” part of his administration’s work targeting drug trafficking as it pertains to Colombian cocaine entering the US during his initial comments.

9.08pm BST

The live feed of Trump’s joint press conference is now embedded at the top of this page, refresh your browser to see it. Trump and Santos entering now.

8.59pm BST

Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee has announced his resignation Thursday, effective June 30. In a letter to constituents Chaffetz said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

My life has undergone some big changes over the last 18 months. Those changes have been good. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday in March, the reality of spending more than 1,500 nights away from my family over eight years hit me harder than it had before.”

8.52pm BST

The Daily Beast is reporting that Donald Trump wants to bring embattled former advisor Mike Flynn back into his administration barring the resolution of an FBI investigation into Flynn’s connections to Russia. According to The Daily Beast this is “a scenario some of Trump’s closest advisers in and outside the West Wing have assured him absolutely should not happen.”

8.47pm BST

Any moment now, Donald Trump is expected to address reporters and take questions following his meeting with Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia.

8.38pm BST

News: Trump on special pros: “I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we’re a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country.”

Trump continued: “It also happens to be a pure excuse for the Democrats having lost an election that they should have easily won. That’s all this is. I think it shows division, and it shows that we’re not together as a country. And I think that’s a very, very negative thing.”

I think Trump may not realize that the Deputy Attorney General he appointed chose the special counsel. https://t.co/qbfuACCRVa

8.08pm BST

Former Senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman has apparently jumped to the head of the pack in the White House search for a new FBI director, Politico is reporting Thursday afternoon.

Lieberman, who retired from the Senate in 2013 now works at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime lawyer in New York.

7.31pm BST

Newsweek is reporting that Trump has canceled a speech he was scheduled to give at a historic site in Israel because he won’t be able to land a helicopter on top of it. The president had planned to deliver the speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada during his first foreign trip as president, but Israeli Air Force regulations prevent helicopters from landing there. The venue has been changed to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

“Unlike former presidents who have made the trip, such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Trump declined to land the helicopter at a base of the historic site and then take the cable car up, preferring to cancel the visit altogether,” Newsweek reported.

6.09pm BST

He wasn’t perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend & I loved him. Not sure I would have been President w/o his great talent, loyal help. RIP.

5.20pm BST

Apparently Jason Chaffetz isn’t the only legislator having a hard time finding James Comey. Senator Lindsey Graham who has also publicly advocated Comey testify before congress says he hasn’t heard from the former FBI director either.

Officially noticed a hearing for next Wed at 9:30am ET with former FBI Dir Comey. But I still need to speak with him…evidently has a new #

.@LindseyGrahamSC hasn’t heard from Comey on potential testimony before Judiciary: “We’re gonna have to put him on a milk carton.”

4.56pm BST

House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t bite when reporters raise the possibility of Trump’s impeachment during his weekly press conference.

“I’m not even going to comment on that,” Speaker Ryan says about the prospect of VP Pence moving into the Oval Office.

4.47pm BST

The AP is reporting this hour that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose ties to Russia are the subject of a current FBI investigation, will not honor a congressional subpoena for his testimony.

Flynn may be angling for immunity with this move. He had offered to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in April in exchange for immunity, an offer the committee promptly rejected.

I believe this is called contempt of Congress and it is a criminal offense https://t.co/1mNkMQ5GdX

BREAKING: Senate panel says it hasn’t received response from Michael Flynn’s lawyer, correcting earlier comments from chairman

4.31pm BST

We’re going live today with Washington still abuzz over news that that the Department of Justice has appointed former FBI chief Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate possible ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian operatives.

Trump responded characteristically on Thursday morning with a blast of victimized outrage on Twitter.

This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special counsel appointed!

Continue reading…
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Link : Trump: Russia inquiry distracts from running the US ‘really, really well’ – as it happened

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