Trump actively hid info on meetings with Putin from top officials

US President Donald Trump listens during a meeting on border security in the Cabinet Room of the White House January 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.

He said he had talked in Helsinki to the Russian leader "like every president does" and that they had had a "great" conversation about "very positive things" such as the economy.

According to the report, in a break from standard policy and the practices of former presidents, Trump has denied top advisers detailed information of several meetings with the Russian leader, whom United States agencies have accused of seeking to undermine American democracy.

The FBI investigation was later folded into the broader probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible collaboration by the Trump campaign. Trump has suggested over the past week that he may declare a national emergency and redirect other funds to begun building the wall, but on Friday said he wasn't rushing to use that option.

Trump reportedly confiscated his translator's notes after his first meeting with Putin in Hamburg (above).

Trump responded to the reporting in a phone interview with Fox News' Jeanine Pirro on Saturday night.

The Post's report comes less than 24 hours after a bombshell New York Times report that revealed President Trump has been the target of a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI, which began nearly immediately after he fired Jim Comey. "I couldn't care less".

At the same time that the FBI opened a probe into Trump for possible obstruction of justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey, counterintelligence agents were investigating why Trump was acting in ways that seemed to benefit Russian Federation, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Friday.

Robert Mueller has spent 20 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election, and possible collusion between the Trump's campaign and Moscow. The FBI also considered whether the Republican president's firing of Comey amounted to obstruction of justice.

President Trump took aim at his "Russiagate" critics on Saturday, tweeting that he has been "FAR tougher on Russia" than his predecessors, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, but adding that he expects to see "good relations" between the U.S. and Russian Federation "someday".

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called the Times report "absurd" and said Comey was sacked for being "a disgraced partisan hack".

Trump has also repeatedly and vociferously denied collusion with the Russians. Instead, he said, "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked".

In the tweets, Trump insulted former FBI Director Comey, and claimed that the probe was a partisan bid to discredit him.

Mueller has indicted 33 people in the probe and convicted some of the president's close associates.

Former US officials told the The Washington Post that Trump's behavior is at odds with the known practice of previous presidents, who rely on senior aides to witness such meetings.

His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for campaign finance and fraud crimes while his campaign chief Paul Manafort was convicted of financial fraud.

  • Tracy Klein