WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Monday flatly denied that he worked for Russia, and he called FBI officials who launched a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether he did “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops.”
Trump’s comments to reporters as he left the White House came in response to reports that an FBI investigation that was opened after Trump fired then-Director James B. Comey in May 2017 included a component to determine whether the president was seeking to help Russia.
“I never worked for Russia,” Trump said as he prepared to leave for an event in New Orleans, adding: “I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question. . . . It’s a big fat hoax.”
During a television appearance Saturday night, after the counterintelligence component of the Trump investigation was first reported by The New York Times, Trump called a question whether he had ever worked for Russia “insulting” but did not directly answer it.
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On Monday, he did not equivocate, and also attacked Comey and others in the FBI responsible for the investigation of possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign.
That investigation is being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed after Trump fired Comey.
“He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop,” Trump said of Comey.
The president also attacked former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe as a “liar.” McCabe made the decision to open the counterintelligence component of the investigation of Trump.
Speaking more broadly of FBI leadership at the time, Trump used the terms “known scoundrels” and “dirty cops.”
Trump and Comey have sparred repeatedly, particularly since the release of a book last year by Comey that describes Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” and portrays the president as an ego-driven congenital liar.
McCabe was fired last year, and a grand jury is weighing possible charges against him for allegedly misleading investigators in a leak probe.
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The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.