In Interview, Trump Denies Collusion Between His Campaign and Russia
President Donald Trump denied allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives in an interview Saturday night on Fox News, adding, however, that he wants “to get to the bottom” of the questions about Russian influence in the election.
“Everybody’s convinced: They say there is no collusion,” Trump said. “There is no collusion. We had nothing to do with Russia.”
But the President said it is “very important” to him that the question of Russian meddling in the election is resolved.
“I want to get to the bottom if Russia or anybody is trying to tamper or play with our election,” Trump told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro.
Pressed by Pirro about launching an independent commission to investigate the issue, Trump suggested the current investigations taking place in Congress will suffice.
“Let them do it,” Trump said. “If it takes longer, it takes longer, but let them do the job right.”
In the wide-ranging interview, the President also defended the timing of his firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this week, saying, “There’s really no right time to do it.”
“Let’s say I did it on January 20, the opening, right? Then that would have been the big story as opposed to the inauguration,” Trump said. “I was thinking about it then.”
Trump added that he thought the Democrats were “hypocrites” for their outrage at Comey’s dismissal, saying they themselves were upset with Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump also denied reports that he asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him at a private dinner shortly after Trump was sworn in.
Pressed by Pirro on whether he asked Comey for his loyalty, Trump responded: “No, I didn’t, but I don’t think it would be a bad question to ask. I think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the US, is important. You know, it depends on how you define loyalty, No. 1; No. 2, I don’t know how it got out there because I didn’t ask that question.”
Trump also discussed his dissatisfaction with the media and suggested for a second time that he might cancel the daily White House press briefings in favor of biweekly press conferences where he would answer questions himself.
“We don’t have press conferences,” Trump said. “We just don’t have them. Unless I have them every two weeks and do it myself, we don’t have them.”
“You have a level of hostility that’s incredible, and it’s very unfair,” he added, referring to the media.
Trump also tweeted Friday morning that “maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future ‘press briefings’ and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy,” a remark he made after contradicting his press aides and other surrogates on his reasons for ousting Comey.
At Friday afternoon’s White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer did not rule out the possibility of their cancellation.
The interview on Fox comes after a week of intense scrutiny of Trump following his unexpected dismissal of Comey. Prior to delivering a commencement address at Liberty University on Saturday morning, the President remained largely out of the public eye.