Trump takes aim at Russian meddling probe with volley of tweets

US president Donald Trump has fired off a volley of tweets displaying his anger over multiple investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Trump sent the tweets, which touched on a number of topics, hours before he was due to help commission a new aircraft carrier at a ceremony on the Virginia coast.

His 10 tweets, all sent within two hours, addressed subjects as diverse as the Russia investigation, his attorney general Jeff Sessions, Hillary Clinton, health care reform efforts and his newly-appointed White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.

Mr Trump said in one missive: "While all agree the U. S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS."

The Washington Post recently reported that Mr Trump has inquired about the authority he has as president to pardon aides, relatives or even himself in connection with the widening investigation into Russian interference in last autumn's election and whether any Trump associates were involved.

The president has long criticised leaks of information about the investigation and has urged authorities to prosecute anyone found to be responsible.

Mr Trump maintains that no crimes have been committed.

One of his attorneys, Jay Sekulow, said the president has not discussed the issue of pardons with his outside legal team.

Next week, Mr Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, his son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman, are scheduled to appear before US Senate committees investigating Russian meddling.

Mr Trump defended his son, saying he "openly gave his e-mails to the media & authorities whereas Crooked Hillary Clinton deleted (& acid washed) her 33,000 e-mails!"

Mr Trump's son has become a focus of the investigation after it was revealed that he, Mr Kushner and Mr Manafort met Russian representatives at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Mr Trump Jr later released email exchanges concerning the meeting on Twitter, after learning that The New York Times was about to publish them.

The FBI investigated Mrs Clinton for using a private email server as secretary of state. She turned thousands of emails over to the government but deleted thousands of others that she said were personal or unrelated to her work as the nation's top diplomat.

Mr Trump also complained about a Washington Post report that the Russian ambassador to the US said he discussed election-related issues with Jeff Sessions when the men met during the 2016 presidential race.

Mr Sessions, who is now the attorney general, was a US senator at the time and foreign policy adviser to Mr Trump.

Mr Trump tweeted: "A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post ,this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions.These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!"

The Post cited anonymous US officials who described US intelligence intercepts of Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's descriptions of his meetings with Mr Sessions.

The Justice Department said Mr Sessions stands by his previous assertion that he never had conversations with Russian officials about any type of interference with the election.

Mr Trump also said: "Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace" the Obama-era health care law.

An effort to advance legislation collapsed in the Senate earlier this week after several Republicans said they would not vote for the bill.

Mr Trump ended the tweet with: "Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN!"

AP


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