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16 Jan, 2018 17:25

Fake news media’s ‘Russia hoax’ is dead, says Trump

Fake news media’s ‘Russia hoax’ is dead, says Trump

US President Donald Trump has said that the allegations of his campaign colluding with Russia by the “fake news media” are “dead”, as his former chief strategist Steve Bannon is set to testify before Congress and a grand jury.

Taking to his favorite social media platform, the POTUS accused the mainstream media of pushing conspiracy theories against him and his campaign.

"Do you notice the Fake News Mainstream Media never likes covering the great and record setting economic news, but rather talks about anything negative or that can be turned into the negative," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "The Russian Collusion Hoax is dead, except as it pertains to the Dems. Public gets it!"

The reference to the Democratic Party presumably applies to the alleged wrongdoing on the part of Hillary Clinton in approving a uranium deal with a Russian company.

Trump’s remarks come as his onetime ally Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and recently ousted executive chairman of the conservative outlet Breitbart News, is due to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to testify on the Russia allegations. Bannon, who was considered a leading figure in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, went on to take a place in the White House but left in August last year.  

Since then, Bannon has fallen spectacularly out-of-favor with his former boss. In the controversial book ‘Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House’ by the journalist Michael Wolff, Bannon is quoted as calling a meeting between Trump’s son Donald Jr. and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”

“They didn’t have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s***, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon is quoted as saying in the book.

After these remarks surfaced, Trump said that his former strategist had “lost his mind.” Within a week, Bannon stepped down from his role at Breitbart.

Bannon has also been issued with a subpoena by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the criminal investigation into the alleged Russia collusion, the New York Times reported citing anonymous sources. It’s not clear whether this means the former Breitbart chief is under extra scrutiny or merely a negotiating tactic to get him to co-operate. It does mean, however, that he is likely not the target of the investigation.

The House Intelligence Committee is investigating claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, which are also being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller. Although two former Trump officials, foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos and national security adviser Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, the investigation has yet to produce any evidence of collusion.