- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2017

President Trump on Saturday told NBC News to stop reporting on Russia’s involvement in his White House victory as accusations concerning Moscow’s role in last year’s election face heightened scrutiny in the form of no fewer than three federal probes.

Via his personal Twitter account, Mr. Trump fired off a pair of posts Saturday morning blasting recent media reports devoted to Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, specifically taking aim at NBC News and the network’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.

“When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?” Mr. Trump tweeted shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday morning from his @realDonaldTrump account.

“It is the same Fake News Media that said there is ‘no path to victory for Trump‘ that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!” Mr. Trump added about 20 minutes later.

It wasn’t immediately clear what particular reporting had pushed the president to take to Twitter to air his grievances, but Mr. Todd said during a Friday evening broadcast that the president is digging himself “deeper and deeper into a hole on a golf course” by downplaying claims involving his 2016 campaign and Russia.

“I think the biggest problem here is you have the president not wanting to accept the conclusion that Russia tried to interfere in the election and that there is going to be an investigation in this, whether he likes it or not,” Mr. Todd said during Friday’s broadcast, echoing the findings of a U.S. intelligence community assessment published in January. “The source of all of the current problems for this West Wing right now, for this presidency right now, all stems from that tweet where the president accused President Obama of wiretapping him.”

“This has all been self-inflicted. The Russia cloud is dark enough,” Mr. Todd continued. “And again, it all stems from the fact that the president himself will not accept the idea that there is going to be a Russian investigation.”

While Mr. Trump previously rejected the U.S. intelligence assessment linking Russian President Vladimir Putin to an influence campaign waged during last year’s White House race, he ultimately conceded before taking office in January that Moscow likely interfered in his election.

Mr. Trump has since claimed that his own predecessor interfered as well, however, and has repeatedly insisted that he was the target of surveillance ordered by former President Barack Obama during the 2016 race, notwithstanding denials from the U.S. intelligence community and Obama administration alike.

The House, Senate and FBI are all conducting separate investigations related to last year’s race, including allegations that Mr. Trump’s former advisors may have colluded with Russians known to U.S. intelligence during the course of waging the alleged influence campaign.

Weighing in on Twitter about an hour after Mr. Trump’s tweets, Mr. Todd offered an explanation Saturday morning for his supposed “sleepy eyes.”

“For those wondering, I slept well even tho I stayed up late watching the #msstate upset of UConn. #cowbell. Don’t feel sleepy at all though,” he tweeted.

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