The Latest: WH says Trump's 'hoax' tweet refers to collusion

WASHINGTON | The Latest: WH says Trump’s ‘hoax’ tweet refers to collusion

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the U.S. Russia probe (all times local):

8:20 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump was “obviously” referring to allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russian agents when he tweeted Sunday about “a big hoax.”

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says: “Obviously the president is talking about the collusion with his campaign. He’s been very clear that there wasn’t any. I think he’s said it about 1,000 times.”

Trump had tweeted Sunday that President Obama “didn’t tell our campaign” about Russia, “Because it is all a big hoax.”

That missive came after a week of walk backs and bipartisan criticism over his handling of last week’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump had just days earlier confirmed his acceptance U.S. intelligence conclusions about Russian interference.

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6:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump is mischaracterizing documents released by the FBI this weekend related to the agency’s wiretapping of Carter Page, a onetime campaign adviser.

Trump is claiming without evidence that the FBI inappropriately used political research by British spy Christopher Steele to mislead the court into granting a wiretap order, then classified the documents to “cover up misconduct.” He was quoting a conservative activist on Fox News.

That’s not what the documents show. Released online Saturday under the Freedom of Information Act, the documents note the political ties to Steele’s work but said it still believed some of his report to be “credible.” The FBI said it suspected Page had been “collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government.”

Page denies being a foreign agent. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still investigating potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Trump tweeted Monday: “A disgrace to America. They should drop the discredited Mueller Witch Hunt now!”

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2:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is back to referring to the Russia commotion as “a big hoax.”

That comes after a week of drama, back tracking, a double negative and blistering statements from allies about his attitude toward Russian election interference.

Trump spent days trying to reassure the country that he accepts that the longtime foe interfered in the 2016 election after his public undermining of U.S. intelligence agencies in Helsinki while standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Trump cast doubt once again in a Sunday tweet, diminishing at least the significance, if not the existence, of the interference and the U.S. investigation into Russia’s actions.

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By Associated Press