Trump under fresh scrutiny over relationship with Putin

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe R-Texas says his questions uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey

President Donald Trump joined Fox News host Judge Jeanine Pirro by phone on Saturday, responding to a Friday New York Times report on the FBI's Russian Federation investigation.

US President Donald Trump faced uncomfortable new questions Sunday about his relationship with Vladimir Putin despite his angry dismissal of a report that he has kept top aides in the dark about his private conversations with the Russian leader.

"I couldn't care less", Trump said in an interview with Jeanine Pirro on Fox News on Saturday night.

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'I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked, ' Trump replied.

"If you read the article, you'd see that they found absolutely nothing", he said.

Pirro went on to ask Trump, "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?"

At the same time that the FBI opened a probe into Trump for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey, counterintelligence agents were investigating why Trump was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russian Federation, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday. "Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security", the Times wrote.

Officials also told the Post that they never received a full, detailed account of Trump's meeting with Putin in Helsinki in July 2018.

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'I'm not going to talk about what we may have been briefed in "the Gang of Eight" when these investigations opened, but I do think it's curious that throughout that whole summer when these investigations started, you had Vladimir Putin policies nearly being parroted by Donald Trump, ' Warner said.

Schumer says it's important the sanctions remain in place while the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation proceeds. The Times reported Mueller also took over the counterintelligence investigation, but the paper said it is unclear whether that aspect of his investigation is ongoing.

Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told the Times he had no knowledge of the counterintelligence inquiry but said that since it was opened a year and a half ago and they hadn't heard anything, apparently "they found nothing".

Then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attended Mr. Trump's first official meeting with Putin, but the two presidents also spoke for up to an hour at dinner, a conversation the White House did not acknowledge for almost two weeks. "I mean, it's so ridiculous", the USA president said.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has defended the decision, saying the companies are undergoing a major restructuring to "sever Deripaska's control and significantly diminish his ownership".

And Trump's former presidential campaign chair, Paul Manafort, has been convicted in one case brought by Mueller and pleaded guilty in another, over financial crimes related to his work in Ukraine before the 2016 campaign, and for witness tampering.

This alleged investigation was eventually merged into the Mueller investigation.

Warner predicted some Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate would join Democrats in voting to override the removal of these sanctions.

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