Trump submits answers to Russia inquiry

US President Donald Trump addresses the media at the White House in Washington before departing for Mar-a-Lago, 20 November 2018Image copyright

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Mr Trump said that answering questions about alleged Russian meddling were “very easy”

US President Donald Trump has submitted his written answers to the special counsel over alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said some of the questions posed by special counsel Robert Mueller had gone “beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry”.

Last week Mr Trump said he had answered the questions “very easily”.

The US president strongly denies any collusion with Russia, calling Mr Mueller’s investigation “a witch hunt”.

On Tuesday, Mr Giuliani confirmed that Mr Trump’s answers had been handed over to investigators, adding that the president had provided “unprecedented co-operation” and that it was time to “bring this inquiry to a conclusion”.

Separately, a report in the New York Times says that Mr Trump earlier this year requested that prosecutions be opened against his 2016 presidential opponent Hillary Clinton and the former FBI director James Comey.

The report, which quotes unnamed sources, states that Mr Trump’s request was rebuffed by then White House Counsel Donald McGahn, who advised him to hold off in order to avoid opening himself up to accusations of abuse of power.

Mr McGahn went on to warn Mr Trump, the report adds, that asking authorities to investigate his rivals could leave him facing possible impeachment.

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Mr Trump had reportedly wanted prosecutions opened against Mrs Clinton and Mr Comey

In 2016, Mr Trump accused Mrs Clinton of putting the US “in danger” over her use of a private email while secretary of state.

He has also accused Mr Comey of lying under oath before Congress.

What is behind the Russia investigation?

In 2016, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had used a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media in an attempt to turn the election against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

A team of investigators led by Mr Mueller is looking into whether anyone from Mr Trump’s campaign colluded in the effort.

It has been established that senior members of Mr Trump’s team met Russian officials, and that several of these meetings were not initially disclosed.

The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr, met a Russian lawyer during the campaign who was said to have “dirt” on Mrs Clinton, and former adviser George Papadopoulos has admitted lying to the FBI about meetings with alleged go-betweens for Russia.

Four people connected with Mr Trump’s campaign and presidency – campaign chairman Paul Manafort, advisers Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, as well as former national security adviser Michael Flynn – have been charged and further indictments could be issued.

However the US president denies any wrongdoing and no solid evidence has emerged to implicate him.

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