‘Insulting:’ President Trump dodges question on whether he has worked for Russia

U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe R-Texas says his questions uncovered revelations that in May 2017 senior FBI leadership debated whether President Trump was directed by the Russian government to fire FBI Director James Comey

The first, published by the New York Times on Friday, revealed the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into the president the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey.

Asked whether he'd like Congress to investigate the matter, including potentially calling the president's translator to testify, McCarthy said, "I'd like the president to be able to build these relationships". Manafort was convicted of financial crimes related to political work he did in Ukraine before the 2016 election as well as witness tampering.

Also this weekend, the Washington Post reported that Trump "has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide details of his conversations" with Putin from members of his own administration-"including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials". "I mean, it's so ridiculous", he told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, without directly denying the Post story.

A protester with a poster of Trump and Putin outside the Phoenix Convention Center where Trump was holding a rally in August 2017.

President Trump continues to portray he wants to negotiate - through tweets starting, as he did Sunday morning, "I'm in the White House, waiting ...", or variations of it - but there have been no public discussions with Democrats since he broke up the last round abruptly saying "bye-bye".

In his appearance on Fox News on Saturday, Trump denied that he was keeping anything under wraps on his meetings with Putin.

"I know what was reported publicly in the media", he said.

The Times reported that FBI agents and some top officials became suspicious of Trump's ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential campaign but didn't open an investigation at that time because they weren't sure how to approach such a sensitive and important probe, according to the unnamed officials. "I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written and if you read the [New York Times] article you see that they found absolutely nothing".

Strobe Talbott, who served as deputy secretary of state to President Bill Clinton, called Trump's secrecy surrounding the meetings "unusual" and "outrageous", according to the Post.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the story was so outrageously inaccurate it didn't even warrant a response.

The reports come as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation looms large in the background, punctuated by guilty pleas, convictions and indictments of former Trump associates.

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, on Mon., July 16, 2018.

He compared his conversations with Putin to what "every president does - you sit with the president of various countries". Anybody could have listened to that meeting.

What did the Washington Post report? "I do think what we can all agree on is that the Mueller investigation should reach its conclusion". The justification went beyond Trump's firing of Comey, according to the sources, and included the President's conversation with Comey in the Oval Office asking him to drop the investigation into his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Schumer says it's important the sanctions remain in place while the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation proceeds.