Congressman Adam Schiff says 'alarm bells should ring' whenever Donald Trump mentions 'fake news'

Rachel Roberts
Representative Adam Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee: AP

Donald Trump is trying to deflect attention away from his team’s alleged links with Russia by calling reports on the issue, “fake news, according to the most senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

“I would tell people whenever they see the President use the word ‘fake’ it ought to set off alarm bells and I think that is really what has gone on here.," Adam Schiff told CNN's, State of the Union show.

The California congressman added that Mr Trump was trying to divert attention away from the issue by claiming the real story was about government leaks.

The President's tweets "tell the story", he said, adding that by blaming leaks or his predecessor Barack Obama's administration, Mr Trump was was saying: "Whatever you do, under no circumstances look here at me or at Russia."

Despite repeated denials from Mr Trump, in January, US intelligence agencies said Kremlin-backed hackers had broken into the email accounts of senior Democrats and released embarrassing ones in order to help Mr Trump defeat Hillary Clinton.

And last month FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee, the the Bureau was investigating Russian interference with the US elections, including any links with members of the Trump campaign, and whether the latter constituted any crimes.

Separate investigations have been launched by both the House of Representatives and the Senate into the influence of Russian hacking on the US presidential election.

Over the weekend, Mr Trump fired off two tweets in his customary combative style, lambasting the media for its continued focus on the Russia story.

“When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?” he said, in reference to a news presenter he has previously attacked.

He added: “The real story turns out to be SURVEILLANCE and LEAKING! Find the leakers.”

He also paid a back-handed compliment to the “failing New York Times” who he said had “finally” got something right in a story about Obamacare and insurance companies.

Mr Trump went to war with the media before he had taken office, naming individual journalists and publications including NBC, BuzzFeed and The New York Times as peddlers of “fake news”.

Mr Trump’s latest tweets come after a week of twists and turns in the Russia story, including reports that his former national security adviser Michael Flynn is seeking immunity before offering testimony against the US leader.

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