Trump slams Pelosi over Russian Federation meetings

The White House is preparing to appoint a respected academic and critic of Vladimir Putin as its chief Russia expert, in a sign that Donald Trump's "bromance" with the Russian leader is cooling amid a growing scandal about ties between their administrations.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Trump tweeted "I hear by demand a second investigation, after Schumer, of Pelosi for her close ties to Russian Federation, and lying about it".

A Pelosi spokeswoman tried to clarify that she meant she never had a private, one-on-one meeting with Kislyak, according to Politico.

Trump's tweet comes after several separate reports detailing that several of the president's top advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and son-in-law Jared Kushner, met with Russia's ambassador to the United States before Trump was president.

Sessions on Thursday said he would recuse himself from Russian Federation probes after it was revealed that he had conversed with Russia's ambassador twice during last year's campaign, a contradiction of his testimony during his Senate confirmation hearings.

Pelosi then needled Trump by saying he didn't "know the difference" between an official meeting photographed by the press and a "secret" meeting that Sessions "lied about under oath". The occasion was the grand opening of a Lukoil gasoline station (representing Russia's largest oil company) in Chelsea, and Schumer was doing diplomatic necessities.

"We should start an immediate investigation into @SenSchumer and his ties to Russian Federation and Putin", Trump wrote in the tweet.

Trump started the fight when he tweeted a photo from 2003 showing a smiling Schumer eating a doughnut with Putin in New York City. Infowars editor Paul Joseph Watson shared the photo with his followers in a tweet, sarcastically writing "Chuck Schumer must resign immediately!"

In a rebuttal tweet, Schumer said his meeting took place in public, adding a challenge to Trump and his administration to discuss under oath their own alleged ties to Russian Federation. "Would you &your team?" he tweeted. They also demand an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. A Washington Post report this week found that Sessions had in fact communicated twice with the Russian ambassador a year ago, including "at the height of what USA intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the US presidential race".

In a statement late Wednesday, Sessions said: "I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign".

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

Schumer was also acting in his official capacity when he met with the Russian strongman in the Big Apple.

"There can not be even the scintilla of doubt about the impartiality and fairness of the attorney general, the top law enforcement official of the land", Schumer said.

Other Congressional committees such as the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held hearings about the Russian hacking allegations last summer.

  • Leroy Wright