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Trump roars on Twitter about Russia probe

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s Twitter cannon roared over the weekend as the latest turn in the Russia investigation seemingly placed him on the defensive. He denied he had ever absolved Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, despite his plentiful record of voicing doubts on that question.

Resurrecting an old tale from the campaign, Trump also described a diplomatic transaction between the U.S. and Iran during the Obama years as a dark plot that should have been investigated by U.S. authorities. The transaction actually was money the U.S. owed to Iran from decades ago and one in a series of claims that were addressed by an international tribunal set up by both countries.

Trump’s rash of tweets followed an indictment released Friday charging 13 Russians with running a massive social media trolling campaign and field operations in the U.S. aimed in part at helping him defeat his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller provided the most concrete evidence yet of Russian attempts to subvert the election.

Here’s look at some of Trump’s broadsides and how they stack up with the facts:

TRUMP: “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

THE FACTS: On multiple occasions Trump has challenged the veracity of the mounting evidence about Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. On Air Force One, during foreign travels in November, he was asked about a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin: “How did you bring up the issue of election meddling? Did you ask him a question?”

Trump replied: “He just — every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth.”

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