President Trump used the word “collusion” 13 times during a heated press conference Wednesday afternoon, during which he blasted the Russia investigation as a “phony cloud” cooked up by resentful Democrats.
Standing alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump inaccurately insisted several times that it has been determined that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.
“For 11 months, they’ve had this phony cloud over this administration and our government. And it has hurt our government,” Trump told reporters. “It does hurt our government. It’s a Democrat hoax that was brought up as excuse for losing an election that frankly Democrats should have won.”
Despite Trump’s claims of “no collusion,” special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation continues to expand. The probe has already produced federal indictments against four of the President’s associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Recent reports suggest Mueller is looking to interview Trump himself within the next few weeks.
Trump dodged questions about the prospect and insinuated that Mueller should perhaps focus on the Democrats instead.
Standing alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump inaccurately insisted that it has been determined that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.
(Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
“I’ll say this, there is collusion, but it’s really with the Democrats and the Russians,” Trump said without clarifying. “So the witch hunt continues.”
Trump has faced criticism for refusing to unambiguously acknowledge that Russia meddled in the 2016 election in a direct attempt to get him elected.
Trump’s press conference claims of “no collusion” were preceded by a Twitter spree, in which he asserted that “Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing.”
Asked about the tweet, Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister, took a diplomatic stance but pointed out that several European elections have also been targeted by Russian interference.
“This is an issue for American politics,” Solberg said. “It has impacted Europe. All European countries who have had elections this year has been looking into ‘will there be any type of tampering?'”