SUBPOENAED: TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER PAUL MANAFORT CALLED TO TESTIFY IN RUSSIA PROBE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been subpoenaed to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, scheduled for Wednesday.

The unexpected legal maneuver came after officials say members of the committee could not coerce Manafort into a private Q&A with investigators.

“While we were willing to accommodate Mr. Manafort’s request to cooperate with the committee’s investigation without appearing at Wednesday’s hearing, we were unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee,” Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.

The Judiciary Committee initially said it would not subpoena Mr Manafort, as he had agreed to negotiate a private meeting. But negotiations quickly broke down when Manafort pulled back and agreed only to a single, transcribed interview to Congress that would not be made available to the Judiciary Committee.

“We need answers. That’s why the Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for Paul Manafort,” Ms Feinstein tweeted on Tuesday.

The subpoena comes after both Manafort and the president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., were called to give testimony on what, if any, information they have in regard to Russian efforts to sway the outcome of the 2016 election.

Likely a topic of great interest to lawmakers will be the attendance by the pair at a June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and her associates, who reports say offered to help provide “dirt” on then political rival Hillary Clinton. Manafort attended the meeting along with Trump Jr. and Trump, Sr.’s son in law, Jared Kushner, who said he left in the middle of the meeting. The threesome admit to attending the meeting but say it was counterproductive and that no useful information was obtained.

According to Manafort’s attorney, Jason Maloni, Manafort spoke to investigators for the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning to avoid another subpoena, but the subpoena issued by the Judiciary Committee still stands.

“Paul Manafort met this morning, by previous agreement, with the bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee and answered their questions fully,” Maloni said.

For his part, the president took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to call the probe into his staff a “witch hunt”.

“Jared Kushner did very well yesterday in proving he did not collude with the Russians,” Trump wrote on Twitter in regard to Kushner’s testimony before the investigative panel. “Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!”

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SESSIONS OUT; GIULIANI IN? AG MAY BE NEXT PUSHED THROUGH WHITE HOUSE REVOLVING DOOR

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday gave credence to recent rumors that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may be next to face the axe within the Trump administration.

In a tweet sent out early Tuesday morning, the president blasted the current AG for his handling of Hillary Clinton’s bevy of “crimes”.

“Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G.?” the outspoken 45th president wrote on Twitter. Moments later, Trump followed his first critique of Sessions up with another. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”

The president’s comments follow weeks of speculation that he may be preparing to replace Sessions with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, with whom Trump has had a long standing friendship.

Questions surrounding the impending political shake up were addressed during a Tuesday morning Fox & Friends appearance by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who would neither confirm nor deny rumors that the president was considering firing Sessions and replacing him with Giuliani.

Sanders said that although she had not been privy to any “of any conversations discussing any potential replacements,” but did verify that Trump is “frustrated and disappointed” in the Attorney General’s decision to recuse himself from ongoing probe into potential Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“That frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will,” Sanders said.
When pressed for clarification on Sessions’ fate, Sanders replied, “That’s a decision that if the president wants to make, he certainly will.”

In regard to Giuliani, Sanders remained coy. “Right now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the attorney general,” she replied when asked if Giuliani had been talked to by the president about replacing Sessions.

As for Sessions, the 70 year old conservative seems unphased by the controversy and says his job, for now, is to work on the tasks at hand.

“I’m totally confident that we can continue to run this office in an effective way,” Sessions said last week in response to rumors of his pending political doom. “(This job) goes beyond anything that I would have ever imagined for myself.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on Trump’s tweets Tuesday morning.

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‘WASTE OF OUR TIME’: A DEFIANT JARED KUSHNER DENIES COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA IN RESPONSE TO CONGRESSIONAL PROBE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jared Kushner on Monday denied colluding with Russian officials to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and called a congressional probe into his potential involvement in the matter a “waste of our time”.

President Trump’s son-in-law, who also serves as an advisor in the Trump administration, slammed allegations of wrongdoing in a statement released Monday morning as he met with congressional investigators.

“I am voluntarily providing this statement, submitting documents, and sitting for interviews in order to shed light on issues that have been raised about my role in the Trump for President Campaign and during the transition period,” the statement reads.

“I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government,” the statement continues. “I had no improper contacts. I have not relied on Russian funds to finance my business activities in the private sector. I have tried to be fully transparent with regard to the filing of my SF-86 form [security clearance], above and beyond what is required. Hopefully, this puts these matters to rest.”

In his statement Kushner also provides specific details in regard to contacts he had with Russian officials during the course of the 2016 election and post-election transition:

“With respect to my contacts with Russia or Russian representatives during the campaign, there were hardly any. The first that I can recall was at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. in April 2016. This was when then candidate Trump was delivering a major foreign policy speech. Doing the event and speech had been my idea, and I oversaw its execution,” the statement reads.

“I arrived at the hotel early to make sure all logistics were in order. After that, I stopped into the reception to thank the host of the event, Dimitri Simes, the publisher of the bi-monthly foreign policy magazine, The National Interest, who had done a great job putting everything together. Mr. Simes and his group had created the guest list and extended the invitations for the event. He introduced me to several guests, among them four ambassadors, including Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. With all the ambassadors, including Mr. Kislyak, we shook hands, exchanged brief pleasantries and I thanked them for attending the event and said I hoped they would like candidate Trump’s speech and his ideas for a fresh approach to America’s foreign policy,” the statement continues.

“The ambassadors also expressed interest in creating a positive relationship should we win the election. Each exchange lasted less than a minute; some gave me their business cards and invited me to lunch at their embassies. I never took them up on any of these invitations and that was the extent of the interactions. Reuters news service has reported that I had two calls with Ambassador Kislyak at some time between April and November of 2016. While I participated in thousands of calls during this period, I do not recall any such calls with the Russian Ambassador. We have reviewed the phone records available to us and have not been able to identify any calls to any number we know to be associated with Ambassador Kislyak and I am highly skeptical these calls took place. A comprehensive review of my land line and cell phone records from the time does not reveal those calls. I had no ongoing relationship with the Ambassador before the election, and had limited knowledge about him then.”

Kushner is being grilled on what, if any, involvement he had in regard to Russian intereferance in the 2016 election in a closed door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday. A second meeting is expected to occur on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee.

His appearance before the committees marks a turning point in the investigations of Russian meddling, as he is the first of the president’s closest advisers to appear before them.

You can read Jared Kushner’s full statement by clicking on the link below:
https://app.box.com/embed/preview/4c3lig06934ua4hg2dayn5kj7vrxr6f3?direction=ASC&theme=dark

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RICE UNDER FIRE: OBAMA’S FORMER NSA PREPARES TO BE GRILLED ON TRUMP ADMINISTRATION UNMASKING

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor to the Obama administration, is expected to face tough questions as she testifies on Tuesday before the Republican-led House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Rice, who’s been accused of ordering the “unmasking” the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports, is expected to address the allegations against her as she testifies before the closed door hearing.

The hearing is just one of many underway as investigators seek to uncover what, if any, interference was caused by Democrats or Republicans in regard to the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Advocates for the Trump administration claim that Rice may have committed a crime by asking government analysts to disclose the names of his associates while surveilling the then Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

Rice, however, has hinted that she is being targeted based upon her gender and her race.

“Why me? Why not Jay Carney, for example, who was then our press secretary, who stood up more?” Rice said in an interview with Michael Tomasky for New York Magazine (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/susan-rice-on-trump.html). “I don’t know… I do not leap to the simple explanation that it’s only about race and gender. I’m trying to keep my theories to myself until I’m ready to come out with them. It’s not because I don’t have any.”

Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News his questions for Rice will be cut and dry: “Did you unmask the names and if so why?”

“The American people want to get the truth on all of these issues,” said Jordan (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/17/susan-rice-set-to-face-capitol-hill-questions-on-alleged-trump-team-unmasking.html) “…on what Susan Rice may or may not have done.”

“We know what James Comey did because he testified to it, and we know he he leaked a memo through a friend to the New York Times with the stated objective of getting momentum to get a special counsel,” Jordan added. “So I think all this needs to be looked at so the American public can get the truth,” Jordan concluded.

In response to an April 4, 2017 Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch which called for “any and all requests for information, analyses, summaries, assessments, transcripts, or similar records submitted to any intelligence community member agency or any official, employee, or representative thereof” relating to the matter, Judicial Watch reported (http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-obama-nsc-advisor-susan-rices-unmasking-material-obama-library) a response on May 23, 2017 by NSC Access Management Director John Powers which read:

“Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.”

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for former president Barack Obama, refused to comment on the ongoing controversy.

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DEMS FILE ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST TRUMP: ALLEGE INTERFERENCE; OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representative Brad Sherman, (D)-Calif., on Wednesday filed impeachment articles against President Donald Trump alleging the president interfered with the ongoing federal investigation into what, if any, role Russia may have played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Sherman unveiled the bill, HR 438, on Wednesday alleging Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey in an effort to thwart the federal investigation into Russian interference, and accusing the president of obstruction of justice.

“Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of people of the United States,” the bill reads. “Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.”

The likelihood that Sherman’s bill will get anywhere is minute considering the only other representative to sign onto it is Rep. Al Green, (D)-Texas, who has also repeatedly called for Trump’s impeachment.

Most Democrats have scoffed at signing such bills due to the fact that Republicans control both the House and the Senate and consider arguing for such an act a waste of time. That said, House Democrats have no less waged war against the Trump administration, particularly in light of recent revelations that Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., has admitted to meeting with Russian insiders in the Spring of 2016 in an effort to obtain information on his father’s then political rival Hillary Clinton.

Asked about the impeachment bill during an off-camera moment at at White House briefing, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it “utterly ridiculous” and “a political game at its worst.”

In a statement, Sherman said he and Green will push the Judiciary Committee for hearings on the matter and added that he hopes introducing articles of impeachment would “inspire an ‘intervention’ in the White House.”

Sherman, acknowledging the fact that the Bill is likely to go nowhere, called his efforts “the first step on a very long road,” and said he believes Republicans will eventually join the effort “many, many months from now” if the president’s “incompetence” continues.

Only three presidents in history have been the subject of impeachment proceedings. Both Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton 1999 were acquitted but were permitted to remain in office. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 to avoid official impeachment.

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CALLED TO TESTIFY: SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WANTS TRUMP JR UNDER OATH AMID RUSSIAN MEETING REVELATIONS

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has announced it will call Donald Trump, Jr. to testify before lawmakers amid revelations that the president’s son met with a Russian attorney who promised “dirt” on the president’s then rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the Spring of 2016 according to a report published on Tuesday by Reuters.

According to the report (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-senate-idUSKBN19W24F?il=0), the committee will seek to obtain all documents pertaining to any communications Trump, Jr. or members of the Trump administration had with Russian officials during the time leading up to the November, 2016 election.

As reported earlier (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/07/11/don-comes-clean-trump-jr-releases-full-transcript-of-email-interaction-with-russian-lawyer-who-sought-to-stop-hillary/), Trump, Jr. released a chain of emails to social media on Tuesday which documented a high ranking Russian attorney’s apparent offer to provide information that would “incriminate” Trump’s then Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

As of press time there has been no date set for the testimony as the committee is still in the process of sending Trump’s eldest son a formal request for information.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a senior Democrat on the committee, say the emails prove that the Trump campaign “sought to collude with a hostile foreign power to subvert America’s democracy.”

“The question is how far the coordination goes,” said Wyden.

Trump, Jr. claims no wrongdoing in regard to the email communication nor the subsequent meeting that followed. In a statement released on Tuesday, the president’s eldest son claims the meeting turned out to be fruitless and a waste of time.

“I first wanted to just have a phone call but when they didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting…As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was ‘the most insane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it’” the statement reads.

Although Trump Jr. tweeted Monday that he would be “happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization has confirmed that he has hired a lawyer, Alan Futerfas, to represent him in regard to the Russia probes.

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DON COMES CLEAN: TRUMP JR RELEASES FULL TRANSCRIPT OF EMAIL INTERACTION WITH RUSSIAN LAWYER WHO SOUGHT TO STOP HILLARY

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Donald Trump, Jr on Tuesday released what he claimed was the entire email thread between himself and a Russian lawyer who claimed to have dirt on his father’s then presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump Jr., who on Sunday admitted to meeting with the lawyer in the Spring of 2016, released the chain of emails via social media on Tuesday morning.

The correspondence (https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/884789418455953413/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fpolitics%2F2017%2F07%2F11%2Fread-donald-trump-jr-s-emails-on-russia-attorney-meeting.html), seemingly between Jr and publicist Rob Goldstone, documents an apparent offer to provide information that would “incriminate” now President Trump’s then Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” an email reportedly from Goldstone and the first in the chain released by Donald Trump, Jr. reads. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Aras and Emin.”

During his initial disclosure on Sunday, Trump Jr. claimed that he first met “Emin” while working to organize the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Russia. She was later identified as Emin Agalarov, a member of the Russian elite whose billionaire father, Aras Agalarov, has reported ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replies.

According to the emails released, Goldstone scheduled a June 9 meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is later identified in the emails as “The Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow.” The meeting was also attended by then candidate Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, who he, as president, went on to appoint as senior aide.

Despite the effort the meeting turned out to be a waste of time, according to Trump Jr, who denied any wrongdoing in a separate statement released on Tuesday. According to the younger Trump, no usable information was obtained and the results of the meeting were not even worth mentioning to his father, who he claims had no knowledge of the event.

“The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research,” Trump Jr. said in the statement. “I first wanted to just have a phone call but when they didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting…As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was ‘the most insane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.'”

Although Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, who have both denied any wrongdoing, have backed Trump, Jr’s version of last summer’s events, the revelations have bolstered Democrats’ efforts to call for the president’s impeachment.

“There’s no escaping it: the Trump Campaign’s inner circle met with an agent of a hostile foreign power to influence the outcome of an American election,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D)-CA said in statement on Tuesday. “The American people face a White House riddled with shadowy Russian connections and desperate to hide the truth.”

In a statement on Twitter, The New York Times claimed Trump, Jr. released the email chain only after being advised that the Times had obtained a copy of the communications and were planning to release it to the press (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/11/us/politics/document-Donaldtrumpjr.html).

Trump, Jr. claims the release was done as part of an effort to prove that he had nothing to hide.

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KELLY ANN SCHOOLS CUOMO: TRUMP AIDE BLASTS CNN REPORTER OVER FAKE NEWS COVERAGE; ‘AMERICA MATTERS!’

ATLANTA, GA — After months of negative coverage of the Trump administration, tensions hit a fever pitch on Monday as Trump aide Kellyann Conway and CNN host Chris Quomo paired off over what Conway called the network’s “fake news” coverage on Russia.

Appearing on CNN’s “New Day”, the pair sparred bitterly over a report that Donald Trump Jr., accompanied by then-campaign chair Paul Manafort, and Trump Sr.’s son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin in the hopes of obtaining “dirt” on Trump’s then Democratic rival Hillary Clinton (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9xfHC0ACX4).

After a series of questions in which Quomo hinted that the revelations proved that Trump had colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, Conway lost her cool with the left leaning correspondent, asking him how he could live with himself.

“Aren’t you the least bit reluctant, if not embarrassed that you now talk about Russia more than you talk about America? Doesn’t this bother you?”

“No Kellyanne, this matters,” Quomo retorted.

“I think America matters,” Conway quickly shot back.

After being interrupted by Quomo several times as she tried in vain to defend the President and his administration, Conway shouted her way over top of Quomo’s further attempts to silence her and stated her piece.

“Chris, you were just — okay. Listen. You were just able to speak two minutes uninterrupted, and I frankly think it was more punditry than reporting. So I would like to respond. If we were in court, your side would not even survive a motion to dismiss because you’ve got nothing”, said Conway.

“On this one, Don Jr. Has very clearly said he was told that there would be some kind of information helpful to the campaign. It quickly became very apparent there was not. Let me say something about who goes into these meetings in the Trump campaign. We were a very small operation. I was not involved in June. I was involved in July. And became the campaign manager in August. It’s very typical to have principals in the meeting.

We had a fraction of the staff than Clinton had over there. You’re trying to have your viewers think because these three principals were in there, it was viewed as some type of seriousness that simply is not true. This was standard operating procedure for the campaign.”

“You don’t care if Russia was trying to get inside your campaign to affect the election?” Quomo countered

Conway replied, “You don’t know what I care about. Why don’t you ask me?”

“That was a question. There was a question mark at the end of it,” Quomo responded.

“I admire your moxie, sitting there with the CNN chyron right near you, talking about credibility issues, given the couple weeks you guy have had,” snapped Conway, taking a stab at the network’s recent highly publicized issues with credibility.

“I could not be more proud to have that CNN chyron next to me,” Cuomo told her. “And I could be more proud representing the White House here on CNN,’ Conway responded.”

“You wanted to produce something because you’re invested in months now as a network in something that simply doesn’t exist,” Conway added, attempting to tie the Trump, Jr. story in with a host of other Russian collusion stories CNN has ran in recent months that have not panned out.

“No, that’s an assumption by you. And it’s an unfair premise,” countered Cuomo.

“No, Chris. That’s not true,” Conway pushed back. “Here is the unfair premise, that we are talking about this again. Yet again. That you talk about Russia more than you talk about America. That the big bombshell of the day is Jim Comey having classified information, conversations with the President of the United States, in his memorandum” (https://rebekahworsham.org/2017/07/10/thats-so-illegal-trump-accuses-comey-of-leaking-classified-info/).

Conway took to Twitter shortly after the interview ended to vent her disdain for the CNN host.

“To me pal @ChrisCuomo: Here’s how you and I are different: you want to talk about Russia; I want to talk about America,” Conway tweeted.

Comey may now himself be the subject of a congressional probe as investigators seek to determine whether or not he mishandled classified information.

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‘THAT’S SO ILLEGAL!’ TRUMP ACCUSES COMEY OF LEAKING CLASSIFIED INFO

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Monday accused James Comey of leaking classified material in response to a report claiming that half the memos Comey wrote detailing Russia-related conversations with the president contained top secret information.

The allegations against Comey, who was fired from his position as FBI Director by Trump months ago, suggest that Comey may have violated the same rules and ignored the same security protocols that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in 2016.

A report published by The Hill (http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/341225-comeys-private-memos-on-trump-conversations-contained-classified) quoted “officials familiar with the documents,” who claim Comey authored a total of seven memos that detailed his talks with Trump in regard to Russia and that four of them contained classified material at the “secret” or “confidential” level.

While testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey admitted to leaking at least one memo to the press in what he them claimed was an effort to get a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“So you didn’t consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document?” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) asked Comey on June 8. “You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?”

“Correct,” Comey answered. “I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.”

According to The Hill’s report, the memos were recently obtained by Congress, much to the president’s dismay.

“James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!” the president tweeted in response to the revelations on Monday.

The news on Comey comes just one day after Donald Trump Jr admitted to having met with a Russian lawyer in the Spring of 2016 who promised “dirt” on his father’s then political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. According to the younger Trump, the information turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and nothing came of the talks.

Trump, Jr., claims that he met with the Russian lawyer on his own accord and that his father knew nothing of the meeting. Democrats, however, have seized the opportunity to call for Trump’s impeachment, claiming the admission serves as proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump administration to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The White House claims no wrong doing in regard to the controversy.

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TRUMP: ‘NO TAPES ‘: PRESIDENT DENIES EXISTENCE OF COMEY RECORDINGS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to deny the existence of audio recordings between he and ousted former FBI director James Comey.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information,” Trump tweeted he has “no idea” whether or not “tapes” or recordings of the two men’s conversations exist, but said he “did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

The clarification was in follow up to a tweet the president sent out several weeks ago after Comey went public with claims that he was pressured by Trump to pull back on the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s dealings with a Russian diplomat.

“Better hope that there are no `tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press,” Trump tweeted the day after Comey’s claim.

Comey responded by saying that if tapes do exist he’s certain they would back up his version of events. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Comey declared while testifying before the House intelligence committee.

Since then, the president has played coy as to whether or not the illusive tapes actually exist.

Two weeks ago during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Trump teased the press by saying that they’d get their answer “maybe sometime in the very near future.”

“You are going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer,” he added.

White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said Wednesday that an answer would be provided this week, presumably by the Friday deadline set by the House intelligence committee for turning over any tapes.

The House intelligence committee assigned to look into whether Russia played any role in interfering with the 2016 presidential election asked White House counsel Don McGahn to clarify the existence of the tapes by Friday. The president’s statement on Thursday seems to have done just that.

Per the Presidential Records Act, a law passed in response to the controversy surrounding Watergate, recordings made by presidents belong to the people and must be preserved. Destruction of the Comey tapes, if they ever existed, would be a violation of federal law.

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