Kellyanne defends Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Putin saying there was ‘great number’ of leaks

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, says the president shielded a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2017, because his administration was ‘suffering from a great number’ of leaks at that time.

Conway told reporters at the White House on Monday that the White House that she had not talked with the president directly about the incidents detailed in a Sunday article in the Washington Post. However, she noted that the White House is always concerned about the leaking of national security information.

‘His calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia had leaked, he had an Oval Office meeting in May of 2017, contents of that leaked. And so there was great concern at the time,’ she said. 

President Trump meanwhile mocked reports that the FBI opened a counter-intelligence probe of his activities following his firing of James Comey, needling critics who ‘thought he worked for the Kremlin.’

The president made light of the reports by noting the drop in gas prices, which is harmful to oil-exporting Russia – although market-driven global oil prices are thought to be far beyond control of any single official including the president.        

‘Gas prices drop across the United States because President Trump has deregulated Energy and we are now producing a great deal more oil than ever before,’ Trump wrote on Twitter Monday morning.  

‘But this is bad news for Russia, why would President Trump do such a thing? Thought he worked for Kremlin?’ Trump asked. 

President Trump pointed to low gas prices and mocked the idea that he could have 'worked for the Kremlin'

President Trump pointed to low gas prices and mocked the idea that he could have 'worked for the Kremlin'

President Trump pointed to low gas prices and mocked the idea that he could have ‘worked for the Kremlin’

Trump’s tweet followed yet another revelation about Russia, after CNN reported on transcripts of congressional testimony of top FBI officials.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker spoke about the debate as officials contemplated opening an investigation of Trump – with possibilities including his innocence as well as him being directed by Moscow.

Officials wanted to know if Trump was ‘acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will,’ Baker said.

Trump continued responding to a bombshell story in The New York Times on Friday stating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump (seen left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was acting as a Kremlin agent

Trump continued responding to a bombshell story in The New York Times on Friday stating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump (seen left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was acting as a Kremlin agent

Trump continued responding to a bombshell story in The New York Times on Friday stating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump (seen left with Russian President Vladimir Putin) was acting as a Kremlin agent

Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility

Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility

Trump called in to Justice with Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night to deny that he is a secret agent of Russia, following a New York Times report that the FBI had investigated the possibility

‘That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the President is completely innocent, and we discussed that too,’ Baker told the House Intelligence Committee.

‘There’s a range of things this could possibly be. We need to investigate, because we don’t know whether, you know, the worst-case scenario is possibly true or the President is totally innocent and we need to get this thing over with — and so he can move forward with his agenda,’ he added. 

Trump blasted the FBI and Comey this weekend after the New York Times reported the FBI opened a counterintelligence in the days after the Comey firing.

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Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also testified about the FBI's conduct following the Comey firing

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also testified about the FBI's conduct following the Comey firing

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page also testified about the FBI’s conduct following the Comey firing

Senior FBI officials wanted to know if Moscow was somehow behind Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, after Trump brought up the topic during an Oval Office meeting with Russians

Senior FBI officials wanted to know if Moscow was somehow behind Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, after Trump brought up the topic during an Oval Office meeting with Russians

Senior FBI officials wanted to know if Moscow was somehow behind Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, after Trump brought up the topic during an Oval Office meeting with Russians

‘Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!’ Trump tweeted.  

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that whether Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia is ¿the defining question¿ of Special Counsel Robert Mueller¿s investigation

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that whether Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia is ¿the defining question¿ of Special Counsel Robert Mueller¿s investigation

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that whether Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia is ‘the defining question’ of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation

The transcripts also include former FBI lawyer Lisa Page commenting on the days after the comey firing, including a text from fellow FBI official and lover Peter Strzok that: ‘We need to open the case we’ve been waiting on now while Andy is acting’ – in reference to then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

“It’s not that it could not have been done,” Page testified. “This case had been a topic of discussion for some time. The ‘waiting on’ was an indecision and a cautiousness on the part of the bureau with respect to what to do and whether there was sufficient predication to open,’ she said. 

Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN on Sunday that whether Trump was a witting or unwitting agent of Russia is ‘the defining question’ of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Warner was asked about the bombshell story in The New York Times on Friday stating that the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was acting as a Russian agent after the President fired FBI Director James Comey.

Comey at the time was leading an investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

The Times reported the counterintelligence probe was sparked in part by growing alarm about Trump’s behavior, including comments he made suggesting he fired Comey over the Russia investigation, which is now being led by Mueller.

When Warner was asked whether he thinks Trump acted wittingly or unwittingly as a Russian agent, he cited a report alleging that Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, shared internal polling data with a Russian businessman believed to be connected to Russian intelligence.

‘Why would you turn over that information? And what’s curious is it would be that kind of information that would inform the Russians later in the campaign when they launched their social media efforts where they created these fake identities,’ Warner said.

Warner said there was ‘clear-cut proof’ that Russian efforts were aimed at dissuading African-Americans from voting.

Trump’s continued pushback comes days after he engaged in a a friendly television interview with Fox News host Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, where he bristled when asked if he had ever worked for Russia but never flat-out denied it.

Pirro asked: ‘Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?’

‘I think it’s the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,’ Trump replied. ‘I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written.’

‘It was a great insult, and the New York Times is a disaster as a paper,’ Trump said. 

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