President Trump on Saturday morning accused Russia of attempting to compromise his 2016 presidential campaign, suggesting that his push for low oil prices and a strong U.S. military proves he was not in cahoots with the Kremlin.
"In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 Election - and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt!.." the president said in a tweet that shared a Fox News article about a Russia-tied firm that was behind a dubious anti-Trump dossier.
In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 Election - and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt! https://t.co/mMSxj4Su5z— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Trump's tweet stands in contrast to a prevailing concern of his critics that the Russians worked to undermine Hillary Clinton's campaign, not his own. There is a federal investigation, along with several congressional probes, looking into Russian interference, as well as possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
The article Trump referred to addresses a key witness saying that a company behind an anti-Trump dossier also worked "on behalf of the Russian government" to fight sanctions the U.S. imposed on Russia.
Bill Browder, the CEO and co-founder of Hermitage Capital, testified this week in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Browder elaborated on his dealings with controversial company Fusion GPS — which was tied to the anti-Trump dossier.
The dossier itself was compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent who was hired by the firm Fusion GPS to create the dossier amid the 2016 presidential campaign. The CEO also said the company launched "smear campaign" against him during the fight to end U.S. sanctions on Russia and that it was organized by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with members of Trump's family and campaign last year, including Donald Trump Jr.
The White House spoke out against the dossier this week during a press briefing, calling out Fusion GPS for being paid by Russians.
"Today, there was public testimony that further discredited the phony dossier that's been the source of so much of the fake news and conspiracy theories, and we learned that the firm that produced it was also being paid by the Russians," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a press briefing.