Russia’s Lavrov Mocks Suggestion That Trump Worked for the Kremlin

(Bloomberg) -- The Kremlin ridiculed as “nonsense” claims that U.S. President Donald Trump has been working on Russia’s behalf.

“That’s stupid,” President Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “How can the president of the United States be an agent of another country? Just think about that.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also dismissed “accusations that President Trump is effectively a Russian agent” at his annual press conference Wednesday in Moscow, as he attacked Congress and the American media for undermining the U.S. leader.

Russia’s Lavrov Mocks Suggestion That Trump Worked for the Kremlin

Trump said Monday that he “never worked for Russia” after news reports that the FBI grew so concerned by his actions toward Moscow that they quietly began a counterintelligence investigation into whether he was working on its behalf.

Lavrov accused American media of “lowering their journalistic standards” in coverage of the issue and denounced U.S. lawmakers for challenging Trump’s right to conduct foreign policy. “This right is under attack from Congress and this doesn’t make these attacks constitutional or less illegal.”

Separately, Lavrov urged more dialogue in an effort to prevent the collapse of a key arms control treaty. The U.S. has said it will withdraw from the Intermediate- Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on Feb. 2, after the expiry of a 60-day deadline for Russia to stop alleged violations, a senior Russian diplomat said Tuesday after talks with American officials in Geneva.

Lavrov also rejected suggestions that Russia would consider swapping Paul Whelan, the American detained in Moscow at the end of December on charges of espionage, for Russians in custody in the U.S. He said Whelan had been caught “red-handed” receiving classified information. Whelan’s family has denied he’s a spy.

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