Top Russian officials on January 16 dismissed as ridiculous allegations that U.S. President Donald Trump could have worked for Moscow's interests, calling them 'absurd' and 'stupid.'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference that U.S. media reports claiming that Trump might have been a Russian agent reflect a drastic plunge in standards of journalism.
The New York Times reported last week that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump, after FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017.
That firing resulted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's appointment to conduct a probe into alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
The Washington Post meanwhile reported that Trump has sought to conceal the details of his conversations with Putin.
The newspaper said that, on one occasion, Trump took the notes made by his interpreter and ordered the interpreter not to discuss what happened with other administration officials.
Trump said this week that he never acted in Russia's favor and repeated his claim that the investigation into his ties to Moscow is a hoax.
Separately, Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, also derided the claims in the U.S. media that Trump might have worked for Russian interests.
'What kind of nonsense are you asking about?' Ushakov snapped when asked if Trump was a Russian agent. 'How can one comment on such a stupid thing? It has reached such a scale that it's awkward to even talk about it.'
'How can a president of the United States be an agent of another country, just think yourself,' Ushakov said at a briefing.
Ushakov said that Russia-U.S. relations are currently at a level that 'can't be worse.'
Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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