President Donald Trump has hired a Washington law firm to defend him against allegations of improper business links with Russia, the White House has said. After Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, raised questions on Tuesday about Trump’s business ties with Russia, Trump hired an unnamed Washington law firm and directed the firm to respond to Senator Lindsey Graham’s comments.
Responding to questions from reporters about comments by Senator Graham Lindsey (R- South Carolina) that he wants — as part of ongoing congressional investigation — to look into allegations about Trump’s business links with Russia, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer revealed that President Trump has hired and directed a Washington law firm to send a certified letter to Senator Graham, affirming that Trump has no business connections with Russia.
“The President, obviously, was aware of Senator Graham’s suggestion after he made it today and he’s fine with that,” Spicer said, according to the Independent. “He has no business in Russia. He has no connections to Russia. So he welcomes that.”
“In fact, he has already charged a leading law firm in Washington DC to send a certified letter to Senator Graham to point out that he has no connections to Russia,” Spicer added, according to NBC News.
The admission by the White House that Trump has retained a Washington law firm to defend him against allegations of irregular business and financial links with Russia, came shortly after reports emerged that Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey. The news sparked speculation about the motive behind Trump’s action based on public knowledge that Comey was leading an intensifying investigation into the Trump administration’s ties with Russia, and that Comey had asked for more resources to expand the investigation just before he was fired.
Critics accused Trump of trying to stall ongoing investigation into his links with Russia by firing the man who was leading the investigation. Some media reports claimed that Trump fired Comey because he was getting uncomfortably close to unveiling damming evidence of inappropriate links between Trump’s organization and the Russians.
But Trump fired back, accusing his opponents of hypocrisy, pointing out that the Democrats have previously called for Comey’s resignation over his handling of the FBI’s Clinton email investigations.
“The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!” Trump tweeted.
“James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI,” Trump continued. “Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”
Although Graham admitted that he had no evidence of improper business links between Trump and Russia, he said he was interested in the matter and would like to look into it. But he added that congressional investigation would likely avoid the question due to potential conflicts with ongoing FBI investigation.
“I have no evidence that the Trump business organization did anything illegal with the Russians,” he said
“I have no evidence of collusion. But do I want to know about business ties? Yes.”
Speaking later to clarify his words, Graham said he was not investigating Trump’s business ties with Russia despite earlier comments, but he said it would be helpful if Trump released his tax records. He also hinted that he might be willing to subpoena the records, according to CNN.
“This is nothing new here,” Graham said, according to Reuters. “I’m not a prosecutor. But if you ask me if I want to know if there are any Trump business ties to Russia that are inappropriate, the answer would be ‘yes.'”
Earlier on Monday, during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence, had declined to answer Graham’s question about Trump’s alleged links with Russia, saying that his comments could prejudice ongoing investigations.
However, Trump’s decision to fire Comey raised questions about the future of the ongoing FBI investigation.
Graham’s comments came a day after Sally Yates, the former Acting Attorney General, testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee that she had warned the Trump administration that Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, was vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.
Flynn had compromised himself after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and Trump administration officials by denying that he had called the Russian ambassador to the U.S. to discuss the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia.
President Barack Obama had also reportedly warned Trump not to hire Flynn who was director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under the Obama administration until he was fired in 2014.
Trump had admitted, only after heavy pressure, that it was likely that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 general election, but he denied that his campaign had any involvement in the process or that there was any collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives.
[Featured Image by Evan Vucci/AP Images]