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Trump renew attacks on Clinton, Obama on Twitter

President Trump (right) shook hands Monday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi at the White House.Olivier Douliery/Pool/EPA

WASHINGTON — President Trump kicked off his week Monday by renewing attacks on Hillary Clinton and her team on Twitter, while seizing on Fox News reports to justify his assertions that the Obama administration spied on him during last year’s campaign.

In a burst of four Twitter posts starting at 5:15 a.m., Trump sought again to turn attention away from the investigation into contacts between his associates and Russian officials by pointing back at Democrats.

He has argued repeatedly that “the real story” is how President Obama’s administration targeted him and how Mrs. Clinton and her associates had ties to Russia, as well.


“Such amazing reporting on unmasking and the crooked scheme against us by @foxandfriends,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday. “ ‘Spied on before nomination.’ The real story.”

In another post on Twitter, he added: “@FoxNews from multiple sources: ‘There was electronic surveillance of Trump, and people close to Trump. This is unprecedented.’ @FBI”

Trump first accused Obama a month ago of tapping his telephones at Trump Tower during the campaign last year and has refused to back off even though Obama and his top aides have adamantly denied it.

The FBI director and the former director of national intelligence have said the phone tapping charge is not true, and congressional leaders of both parties have said they have seen no evidence of it.

In his posts on Monday, Trump also tried to raise questions again about Clinton and her circle. Trump and his aides have seized on reports that the president or his associates may have been “incidentally” swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.

Intelligence officials are supposed to guard the privacy of Americans caught up in routine eavesdropping of foreign officials, but the White House has pointed to reports that some associates of Trump were “unmasked” in intelligence reports.


“Was the brother of John Podesta paid big money to get the sanctions on Russia lifted?” he asked. “Did Hillary know?”

Podesta was the chairman of Clinton’s campaign and a former White House counselor to Obama. His brother, Tony Podesta, runs the Podesta Group, a major Washington firm that registered last year as a lobbyist for Sberbank, a Russian state-owned bank and the country’s largest, which was sanctioned by Obama in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

The firm was tasked with “assessing possible ways to address sanctions relief and monitoring relevant developments applicable to such matters,” according to forms filed by the Podesta firm.

In his posts, Trump also raised an unrelated controversy from last year when hacked e-mails released by WikiLeaks showed that Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor, shared questions for the network’s candidate events with Clinton’s campaign. CNN then severed its ties with Brazile.

“Did Hillary Clinton ever apologize for receiving the answers to the debate?” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter. “Just asking!”

In a separate development Monday, the Associated Press reported that court filings reveal that a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign met with a Russian intelligence operative in 2013 and provided him documents about the energy industry.

The Russian, Victor Podobnyy, was one of three men charged in connection with a Cold War-style Russian spy ring. According to the court documents, Podobnyy tried to recruit Carter Page, an energy consultant working in New York at the time, as an intelligence source. Page is referred to in the filing as ‘‘Male-1.’’


Page briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, though he split from the campaign before the election and the White House says the president has no relationship with him.

He’s among the Trump associates under scrutiny as the FBI and congressional committees investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Page said he was not available for comment.

Also Monday, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the AP reported.

The visit comes against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation into civilian deaths in an area of Mosul near the site of an air-strike by US-led coalition forces last month.

Dunford invited Kushner and Thomas P. Bossert, a presidential assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, to meet with Iraqi leaders and US forces and receive an update on the fight against the Islamic State.

Captain Greg Hicks, a spokesman for Dunford, said Kushner was ‘‘traveling on behalf of the president to express the president’s support and commitment to the government of Iraq and US personnel currently engaged in the campaign.’’

A Trump administration official said Kushner wanted to see the situation there for himself and show support for Baghdad’s government.