On his first day back in the office after a lengthy overseas trip, President Trump made clear that he's not going to stop tweeting any time soon. In five tweets over less than four hours, the president again lashed out at Germany, again brushed off accusations that Russia interfered in the election, again called for blowing up the legislative filibuster, retweeted a photo of the crowd that gathered to hear him speak at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday and retweeted a Fox News article headlined “Jared Kushner didn't suggest Russian communications channel in meeting, source says.”

The tweets started at 6:40 a.m. on the East Coast, a bit earlier than usual, with a message that seemed aimed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been critical of Trump and said Sunday that the days of Europe being able to rely on other countries, especially the United States, is “over to a certain extent.”

“We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change,” the president wrote in a tweet from his personal account, @realDonaldTrump.

 

Twenty-four minutes later came the next thought: “Russian officials must be laughing at the U.S. & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.”

This isn't the first time Trump has ignored the intelligence community's collective conclusion that Russia tried to interfere in last year's election and painted the issue as simply a conspiracy theory invented by Democrats. But this tweet comes as the media continues to report on contacts between Russia and Trump associates, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, one of Trump's most trusted advisers.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring. This controversy has overshadowed Trump's presidency so far, and White House officials are trying to shift the focus back to policy while likely shaking up staff responsibilities.

What you need to know about Jared Kushner's ties to Russia. (Thomas Johnson/The Washington Post)

But even as Trump and his inner circle try to dismiss the leaks as “fake news,” Russia seems to be taking them seriously.

In Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov complained that “the threat of leaks” from the White House undermines cooperation between the two countries. He claimed the Kremlin is now conducting only “basic level” exchanges with the Trump administration out of worry that details could be spilled to the U.S. media.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Ryabkov told Russian journalists. “Maybe you’ll see what you discussed with your counterpart on the pages of Washington Post or on CNN.”

The president then took a nearly three-hour Twitter break, resuming at 9:59 a.m. with this message: “The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!”

In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) noted through a spokeswoman that neither of those two measures is going through a process that would allow a filibuster. Each requires only a simple 51-vote majority under a process known as reconciliation.

“Senator McConnell agrees that both health care and tax reform are essential and that is why Republicans in Congress are using the reconciliation process to prevent a partisan filibuster of these two critical legislative agenda items,” said McConnell spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier in response to Trump's tweet.

This is not the first time the president has called for blowing up the Senate rules to allow legislation to pass by a simple majority — and to make it easier to get legislation that he supports approved.

McConnell stated earlier this year that under his leadership, the Senate would not seek to end the legislative filibuster. He said there is “no sentiment” to end the 60-vote threshold that most legislation must clear.

Following a similar comment in early May, McConnell told reporters at a news conference: “That will not happen.”

Soon after the filibuster tweet, the president retweeted two messages from others: One from Dan Scavino Jr., an assistant who handles his social media, that showed the crowd that gathered at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday morning to hear the president speak, and another from Fox News's “Fox & Friends” morning show that linked to a news article lacking an author and citing one unnamed source who challenged details of The Post's reporting.