Trump: Russia inquiry distracts from running the US really, really well – as it happened

| May 19, 2017
4.52pm EDT16:52 That’s a wrap Trump has wrapped up his press conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, and we’re wrapping up our liveblog coverage here. Some key moments from today: Trump fires off angry tweets about the scandals afflicting his administration this week calling it the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Former Senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman has apparently jumped to the head of the pack in the White House search for a new FBI director. Democrats are lining up to oppose the move. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein says in closed-door meeting with Senators that he knew before drafting a memo on James Comey’s performance, that Trump was going to fire the then FBI director. In a press conference, Trump flatly denies urging Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into Mike Flynn, calls impeachment talk “totally ridiculous”. That’s it for now. If another bombshell drops this evening, like yesterday, we’ll fire the liveblog back up and get you up to speed. Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.40pm EDT16:40 Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “That was a poor, poor performance,” Trump says of Comey’s testimony, cites it as a reason why Comey was fired from FBI post. May 18, 2017 Trump: “Director Comey was very unpopular with most people. I actually thought when I made that decision… That it would be a bipartisan decision.” Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.36pm EDT16:36 Trump: Impeachment would be ‘totally ridiculous’ On impeachment: “I think it’s totally ridiculous, everyone thinks so. I think we’ve got to get back to working our country properly.” Trump adds that “millions and millions of people out there that are looking at what you’ve just said and have said ‘what are they doing’”. Updated at 4.40pm EDT Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.33pm EDT16:33 Trump, asked if he at any point urged former FBI director Comey “in any way shape or form to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn”. Trump interrupts reporter’s followup question and replies “No. No. Next question.” Updated at 4.43pm EDT Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.29pm EDT16:29 President Santos fully ducks a question on whether or not the border wall will help stop the the drug trade between the US and Colombia. Trump adds, without prompting: “Walls work, just ask Israel.” Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.27pm EDT16:27 Julian Borger (@julianborger) Trump on Mueller appointment: “There is no collusion.. I can only speak for myself and the Russians – zero.” *can only speak for myself* May 18, 2017 Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.27pm EDT16:27 Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) Senate Dems quickly lining up against Lieberman as FBI pick https://t.co/ywqTMo7yHZ pic.twitter.com/M3IOhwhPu8 May 18, 2017 Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.23pm EDT16:23 Trump: ‘The entire move has been a witch-hunt’ “I respect the move but the entire move has been a witch-hunt,” Trump says of the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate his administration and campaign’s ties to Russia . “I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things.” Trump then punts to all the things he says are going well with jobs, manufacturing and in the fight against ISIS. “I’m fine with whatever people want to do but we have to get back to running this country really, really well,” Trump says. Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “There’s no collusion. Russia is fine,” Trump says. May 18, 2017 Updated at 4.28pm EDT Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.20pm EDT16:20 Trump now taking questions. Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “Does anyone have any questions,” President Trump asks. Yes, we do. “I’m shocked.” May 18, 2017 Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.17pm EDT16:17 Our Ben Jacobs’ take on the Senate’s closed-door briefing from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein: Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) Major news line out of the Rosenstein briefing was that he knew before drafting the memo that Trump was going to fire Comey May 18, 2017 Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.14pm EDT16:14 “It is a very very horrible problem”, Trump says of the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. “From a humanitarian standpoint it’s like nothing we’ve seen in a very long time.” Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.12pm EDT16:12 Trump identified the boarder wall as a “major” part of his administration’s work targeting drug trafficking as it pertains to Colombian cocaine entering the US during his initial comments. Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 4.08pm EDT16:08 The live feed of Trump’s joint press conference is now embedded at the top of this page, refresh your browser to see it. Trump and Santos entering now. Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close 3.59pm EDT15:59 Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee has announced his resignation Thursday, effective June 30. In a letter to constituents Chaffetz said he wanted to spend more time with his family. My life has undergone some big changes over the last 18 months. Those changes have been good. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday in March, the reality of spending more than 1,500 nights away from my family over eight years hit me harder than it had before.” The timing is curious. Just Tuesday Chaffetz formally asked the FBI to turn over to the committee all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings referring or related to any communications between Comey and the president”. Facebook Twitter Google plus Share Share this post Facebook Twitter Google plus close Trump has wrapped up his press conference with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, and we’re wrapping up our liveblog coverage here. Some key moments from today: Trump fires off angry tweets about the scandals afflicting his administration this week calling it the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Former Senator and vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman has apparently jumped to the head of the pack in the White House search for a new FBI director. Democrats are lining up to oppose the move. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein says in closed-door meeting with Senators that he knew before drafting a memo on James Comey’s performance, that Trump was going to fire the then FBI director. In a press conference, Trump flatly denies urging Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into Mike Flynn, calls impeachment talk “totally ridiculous”. That’s it for now. If another bombshell drops this evening, like yesterday, we’ll fire the liveblog back up and get you up to speed. Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “That was a poor, poor performance,” Trump says of Comey’s testimony, cites it as a reason why Comey was fired from FBI post. May 18, 2017 Trump: “Director Comey was very unpopular with most people. I actually thought when I made that decision… That it would be a bipartisan decision.” On impeachment: “I think it’s totally ridiculous, everyone thinks so. I think we’ve got to get back to working our country properly.” Trump adds that “millions and millions of people out there that are looking at what you’ve just said and have said ‘what are they doing’”. Trump, asked if he at any point urged former FBI director Comey “in any way shape or form to close or back down the investigation into Michael Flynn”. Trump interrupts reporter’s followup question and replies “No. No. Next question.” President Santos fully ducks a question on whether or not the border wall will help stop the the drug trade between the US and Colombia. Trump adds, without prompting: “Walls work, just ask Israel.” Julian Borger (@julianborger) Trump on Mueller appointment: “There is no collusion.. I can only speak for myself and the Russians – zero.” *can only speak for myself* May 18, 2017 Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) Senate Dems quickly lining up against Lieberman as FBI pick https://t.co/ywqTMo7yHZ pic.twitter.com/M3IOhwhPu8 May 18, 2017 “I respect the move but the entire move has been a witch-hunt,” Trump says of the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate his administration and campaign’s ties to Russia . “I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things.” Trump then punts to all the things he says are going well with jobs, manufacturing and in the fight against ISIS. “I’m fine with whatever people want to do but we have to get back to running this country really, really well,” Trump says. Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “There’s no collusion. Russia is fine,” Trump says. May 18, 2017 Trump now taking questions. Phil Elliott (@Philip_Elliott) “Does anyone have any questions,” President Trump asks. Yes, we do. “I’m shocked.” May 18, 2017 Our Ben Jacobs’ take on the Senate’s closed-door briefing from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein: Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) Major news line out of the Rosenstein briefing was that he knew before drafting the memo that Trump was going to fire Comey May 18, 2017 “It is a very very horrible problem”, Trump says of the unfolding crisis in Venezuela. “From a humanitarian standpoint it’s like nothing we’ve seen in a very long time.” Trump identified the boarder wall as a “major” part of his administration’s work targeting drug trafficking as it pertains to Colombian cocaine entering the US during his initial comments. The live feed of Trump’s joint press conference is now embedded at the top of this page, refresh your browser to see it. Trump and Santos entering now. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee has announced his resignation Thursday, effective June 30. In a letter to constituents Chaffetz said he wanted to spend more time with his family. My life has undergone some big changes over the last 18 months. Those changes have been good. But as I celebrated my 50th birthday in March, the reality of spending more than 1,500 nights away from my family over eight years hit me harder than it had before.” The timing is curious. Just Tuesday Chaffetz formally asked the FBI to turn over to the committee all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings referring or related to any communications between Comey and the president”.

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