President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for an investigation into allegations that his campaign colluded with Russian operatives to sway the U.S. presidential election last year.
The comments came during an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that aired before the news media was allowed to cover the president’s scheduled trip to Washington.
“I think that the people that we’re dealing with are people that have no idea what they’re doing, Wolf,” Trump said.
“They’re people that are very dishonest, and they are people who have no respect for our country.
They are people whose actions speak louder than words.
I think that there should be an investigation.”
Trump, who said he doesn’t plan to meet with reporters on Wednesday, said the “people that are doing this are people with no regard for what they’ve done, Wolf.
You know what I mean?
People who are working for Russia.
I mean, what they do is very bad.
And the people in charge, they have no regard whatsoever for the people.”
Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on whether his campaign coordinated with Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.
The president said last week that he has not spoken with his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, about the allegations.
Manafort’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, told The Associated Press that he would not discuss Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign.
“There’s no question in my mind that Mr. Manafort was not involved in any of the coordination with the Russians,” Sekulows told AP in an interview.
“And, in fact, it’s quite bizarre that Paul Manafort would have to answer questions like this in a public setting.”
The Associated News first reported the president spoke with Blitzer about his thoughts on the Russia matter on Wednesday.
Blitzer, who has covered Trump for nearly two decades, said in the interview that he did not believe Trump had made a decision on whether he would be pardoned for his handling of classified information while he was still in office.
Trump has denied knowing of the existence of the email cache that was published by The New York Times last week.
“It’s a ridiculous story, Wolf, Wolf Blitowitz, it just makes no sense,” Trump told Blitzer.
“We don’t even know who it was.
It’s not even mentioned in the Times story, and it’s not in the documents that were released by the State Department.”
Trump’s statement that he does not believe the information is pertinent to the investigation is similar to his comments earlier this week when he called the emails a “total political witch hunt.”
“We’ve got nothing to do with Russia,” Trump argued.
“Look, I’m going to be very, very frank with you.
We’ve got a very bad case.
We can’t even talk about it, and you know, we’re not even going to talk about the election.”
The White House and the Republican-led House are also investigating whether the Trump administration colluded in the 2016 campaign.
Democrats have accused the Trump White House of using the Russia probe to target former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn resigned as Trump’s national security advisor on Feb. 13 after a video surfaced in which he said he lied about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions.
Flynn was fired by Trump on Feb 21 after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak.