WASHINGTON, DC, USA (JANUARY 14, 2019) (RESTRICTED POOL) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday (January 14) denied media reports regarding the Russia investigation and his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling reporters he never worked for Russia and did not know anything about his interpreter’s notes.
Trump, speaking at the White House before departing for New Orleans, said a Washington Post report that he had concealed details about his meetings with Putin and confiscated his interpreter’s notes was false. The New York Times also reported that the FBI was investigating whether Trump has been working on behalf of Russia.
“I never worked for Russia,” he told reporters.
On Saturday, the Post reported that Trump took notes from his interpreter made during a 2017 meeting with Putin in Hamburg and took other steps to conceal details of their conversations. Trump told reporters he knew nothing about that, calling it “fake news.”
During the same meeting with reporters, Trump predicted the United States would reach a deal with China to end a tit-for-tat trade war, saying Beijing wants to negotiate and that talks are going well.
“We’re doing very well with China,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I think that we are going to be able to do a deal with China.”.
Trump has vowed to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports on March 2 if China fails to address intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and other non-tariff barriers.
Meanwhile, Trump also said he rejected a proposal from a Republican ally in the Senate that he temporarily reopen closed parts of the government to allow resumption of negotiations on a funding standoff.
If talks fail during that period, Graham said on Sunday, then Trump could go ahead and declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and get money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – the issue that triggered the shutdown on Dec. 22.
Trump has held out the option of declaring a national emergency if he cannot get a deal with lawmakers. He said on Monday he was not looking to do so.
The federal government has been partially shut over Trump’s demand that a spending bill include $5.7 billion to build a wall along the border with Mexico as he promised during his campaign. Democrats have refused further negotiations until the government is reopened.