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'Witch hunt': How Russian media is covering the latest Trump controversy

The US Attorney General has come under fire after it emerged he met the Russian ambassador to the US during Trump’s election campaign.

ses Trump and Sessions in the Oval Office last month Source: PM/AP/Press Association Images

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S possible ties to Russia have been the subject of much speculation and controversy in recent weeks.

Before he was sworn in as 45th President of the United States, the CIA found that Russia intervened in the election to help Donald Trump win – something he was reluctant to accept.

Then, on 13 February, Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned after it was revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about contact he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, before taking office.

At the time, Flynn admitted he “inadvertently briefed” Pence with “incomplete information” about his conversations with Kislyak.

The latest twist in the controversy involves Attorney General Jeff Sessions. During the week, it emerged Sessions failed to divulge the fact he had met Kislyak during Trump’s campaign.

The Washington Post reported he met the Russian ambassador twice last year, contradicting statements he made in Senate confirmation hearings in January.

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There were calls for Sessions to step down as AG, with Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the Senate, saying his position was untenable after he lied “under oath to Congress”.

However, House Speaker and fellow Republican Paul Ryan said he saw no reason for Sessions to do so, saying lawmakers had seen “no evidence” to determine collusion had occurred between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

Instead, on Thursday Sessions recused himself from inquiries into Trump’s dealings with Russia. He said: “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

The development has been making headlines around the world, including in Russia.

The Moscow Times reported that the Russian embassy in Washington refused to comment on the alleged meetings.

moscow times Source: The Moscow Times

The Times translated to English part of an Interfax news agency report which said Russia Embassy press secretary Nikolai Lakhonin said meetings were held on “a daily basis in accordance with diplomatic practice”.

witch hunt Source: The Moscow Times

The website also ran an article about Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the current focus on US officials’ contacts with the Russian ambassador is a “witch hunt”.

Here are some headlines from RT, which is funded by the Russian government:

rt comnfidence Source: RT

RT JEFF Source: RT

RT also reported on a study by conservative media watchdog Media Research Center, which found the vast majority of Trump coverage on three of the main TV news networks in the US – ABC, CBS and NBC – is “hostile”.

Tweet by @NewsBusters Source: NewsBusters/Twitter

‘He loves me’

Last month, Russian officials denied claims President Vladimir Putin ordered media in the country to cut back on positive Trump material as he was getting so much coverage.

The Financial Times reports that some Russian media outlets have given more airtime to flattering coverage of Trump in recent months than they have to Putin.

The LA Times, meanwhile, translated part of an op-ed in daily newspaper Kommersant which focused on Trump’s first speech to Congress as US President, saying the address ”did not clarify” what Russia should expect from the Trump administration.

Commentator Sergei Strokan wrote that US-Russian links have become “a game of ‘He loves me, he loves me not.’”

Contains reporting from © – AFP 2017 

Read: ‘No need to step down’? US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stood down from the Russia/Trump inquiry

Read: Jeff Sessions, controversial senator consistently accused of racism, confirmed as US Attorney General

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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