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Trump walks out on Democrats in fury over Russia probe

AFP
Washington
US President Donald Trump abruptly shut down a White House meeting with Democratic leaders on Wednesday to vent his fury over ongoing probes into his links to Russia.
Trump showed the door to top congressional Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer almost as soon as they came in for what was meant to have been a rare bipartisan session on national infrastructure spending.
Moments later, a livid Trump gathered journalists in the Rose Garden to announce that he could not deal with Democrats as long as they mount “phony investigations.” The presidential meltdown doomed what had been flagged as a hopeful moment of cross-party cooperation on fixing the country’s creaking public infrastructure.
The two sides gave completely different versions of what happened.
According to Trump, he blew up the meeting because Pelosi had just beforehand accused him of mounting a cover-up of the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller into his alleged collusion with Russia and alleged attempts to obstruct the investigation.
Mueller said there was no hard evidence of collusion, even if links between the real estate tycoon’s campaign and Moscow did raise eyebrows. But the prosecutor said he could not rule clearly on whether Trump obstructed justice, leaving it to the Trump-appointed attorney general, Bill Barr, to declare there was no obstruction.
The Democrats’ decision to pursue the grey areas of the investigation further -- and their discussing of whether or not to launch impeachment proceedings -- has enraged Trump.
“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump told the hastily convened press conference at the White House. “Here is the bottom line: there was no collusion, there was no obstruction.” Accusing Democrats of harassing the presidency, Trump said the infrastructure plans were doomed for now and seemed to threaten breaking relations with the opposition party, which controls the lower house of Congress.

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