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Another day in office: Trump praises sacked NSA, abuses media, posts tweets

Donald Trump’s nominee for labour secretary Andrew Puzder withdrew his name after facing opposition from Republicans even as the US President continued to face the heat over his campaign aides’ alleged contacts with Russian intelligence

world Updated: Feb 16, 2017 09:02 IST
HT Correspondent
President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (not in picture) at the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017.
President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (not in picture) at the White House in Washington, on Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017.(AP)

It was another tumultuous day in Trump presidency.

As the President continued to face, and dodge, questions about his campaign aides’ contacts with Russian intelligence during elections, his nominee for labour secretary Andrew Puzder withdrew his name, faced with opposition from Republicans.

And, incredibly, Trump defended Micheal Flynn, the man he fired as his National Security Adviser on Monday for losing his trust and that of vice president Mike Pence for not being truthful about phone calls with the Russian envoy to the US.

He called Flynn “a wonderful man” who, he said was “treated very, very unfairly by the media”.

Addressing a news conference with visiting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump went on to attack US intelligence, which now reports to him as president, for “papers being leaked”, which he said were “criminal actions”.

The “leaks” were presumably a reference to reports, based on phone records and intercepts by US intelligence and law enforcement, that Trump’s campaign aides were in constant contact with Russian intelligence during the elections, in a development increasingly drawing comparisons to the Watergate scandal that cost another Republican president, Richard Nixon, his job in 1974.

Trump, who had rubbished these reports in a string of tweets that signaled he was bothered enough to respond, chose to ignore a direct question about them, shouted out to him as he and Netanyahu were leaving the joint news briefing.

That was just the start of the day that became progressively newsier, as word came in that Puzder, a food-chain owner, was pulling out his nomination.

The problem: an undocumented immigrant Puzder employed as a housekeeper.