U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to knock down reports that his White House is engulfed in turmoil.
“Don’t let the FAKE NEWS tell you that there is big infighting in the Trump Admin.,” Trump wrote in a comment on his Twitter account Tuesday. “We are getting along great, and getting major things done!”
Trump offered his commentary after several days of accounts in major U.S. news outlets that he was angry at his staff for their handling of controversies that have erupted around him.
It was Trump’s latest broadside against mainstream U.S. publications and television networks, which have published or aired numerous stories depicting behind-the-scenes accounts of Trump’s White House, often based on anonymous accounts or leaked documents.
Trump has assailed the stories, repeatedly calling them the product of “fake news” and what he claims are fictitious, unnamed sources.
Much of the conflict has centered on Trump’s own actions or those of his aides, who then have been left to defend Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower headquarters in New York last year and contacts his aides have had with Russians in the run-up to the November election and since then.
Caught on camera
Through a window, a CNN television camera captured pictures, but no sound, of a heated exchange last Friday in the White House Oval Office between Trump and aides.
The accounts of White House turmoil have reported Trump was particularly incensed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions removed himself from oversight of the Justice Department’s probe into the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion Russia meddled into last year’s U.S. presidential election in an effort to help Trump win.
Trump had said he did not think Sessions needed to recuse himself, but the attorney general did just that, leaving Trump angered at his aides for their handling of the controversy.
Sessions, a vocal Trump supporter last year, had been asked at his Senate confirmation hearing in January whether he had had any contacts with Russians during the campaign and he said he had not. But it came to light, after Sessions had taken office as the country’s top law enforcement official, that he had met twice last year with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.
Since then, Sessions says that he had met with Sergey Kislyak in his capacity as member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as part of Trump’s presidential campaign.
Unproven wiretapping allegation
Trump sparked more controversy with his claim that his predecessor, Obama, had wiretapped him in the weeks before the election.
The publisher of the Newsmax Media website, Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Trump’s, wrote Sunday the president told him, “This will be investigated. It will all come out. I will be proven right.”
Ruddy said he has never seen Trump as angry as he was over the handling of the Sessions matter and then complaints from both opposition Democrats and Republican colleagues of Trump that his wiretap claim was unfounded.
Trump has denied any links to Russia, but several of his aides have met with Kislyak.
Trump ousted his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, after just 24 days on the job after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and other top officials about the nature of his conversations with Kislyak.