Trump Tries To Shift Russia Focus, Accuses Schumer Of Putin Ties

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSMiami) — President Donald Trump is blaming Democrats for forcing his Attorney General to recuse himself from investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

During confirmation hearings, Jeff Sessions did not disclose he’d had two meetings with Russia’s ambassador in the last year.

“In retrospect, I should have slowed down a little and said I did meet one Russian official a couple times,” said Sessions during a Thursday news conference.

The President issued a statement saying, “Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional.”  Mr. Trump then accused Democrats of carrying out “a total witch hunt.”

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, was among the Democrats calling for Sessions to step down.

Friday, President Trump tweeted a photo of Schumer meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a trip to New York in 2003.

The president called for a probe into Schumer’s “ties to Russia and Putin” and called the New York senator “A total hypocrite!”

Schumer responded on Twitter a short time later writing that he would “happily talk” under oath about his meeting with Putin, which took place “in full view of press and public.” He then challenged Trump to do the same.

 

Trump also slammed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a photo on Twitter claiming she lied about meeting the Russian ambassador.

 

Meanwhile, we’re also learning Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser is among a growing list of Trump associates who met with the Russian ambassador.

A White House official said Kushner and the man who would become national security advisor, Michael Flynn, met with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. in December.

The official called the sit-down at Trump Tower in New York a “brief courtesy meeting.” The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Flynn resigned in February after admitting that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Congress is conducting its own investigation and some lawmakers say the FBI Director is withholding information.

“We can’t do a complete job unless the Director’s willing to discuss anything they’re investigating,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. who is on the House Intelligence Committee.

Russia’s foreign minister echoed President Trump’s Statement Friday calling the investigations a witch hunt.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said the pressure on Attorney General Sessions resembles the 1950’s McCarthyism.  Senator Joseph McCarthy led a hunt for communist traitors he believed worked in the government and army.

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