The president, at a remarkable press conference, was forced to deny he had done anything worthy of criminal charges – calling Russia crisis ‘a witch hunt’

Donald Trump denied any collusion with Russia in the 2016 election but said on Thursday he spoke “for myself”, leaving open for the first time the possibility that some of his staff may have been involved.

The president claimed he was the target of the “greatest witch hunt” in US political history and complained that the campaign against him was dividing the country. But asked about the justice department decision to appoint a special counsel, Robert Mueller, to investigate contacts between his campaign and Russia, Trump appeared to shift his position from previous blanket denials.

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