Trump leaves for New Orleans as shutdown, criticism swirls – live updates

As President Trump is takes off to speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans Monday, he can’t escape the swirling controversies of the government shutdown and two explosive weekend reports about his interactions with Russia. 

Mr. Trump spent the snowy weekend in Washington lashing out on Twitter and Fox News against Democrats, and over explosive reports in the Washington Post and New York Times raising further questions about his relationship with the Kremlin. 

Mr. Trump decried a story in The New York Times Friday claiming the FBI opened a counterintelligence probe into Mr. Trump the day after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, with the goal of determining whether Mr. Trump was working for the Russians. 

“I think it’s the most insulting thing I have ever been asked,” Mr. Trump told Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro when she asked if he has ever worked for Russia. “I think it’s the most insulting article I’ve ever had written, and if you read the article you see that they found absolutely nothing.”

The Washington Post also reported over the weekend that Mr. Trump went to “extraordinary lengths” to hide details of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin from top U.S. officials. Mr. Trump said he simply had a conversation with Putin, as he would with any world leader. 

Meanwhile, the government shutdown is now the longest on record, and hope of a breakthrough appears bleak. Mr. Trump is still demanding at least $5.7 billion for his border wall, while Democrats insist they won’t fund it. Most affected federal employees missed their first paycheck Friday. 

“I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday morning.  

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