A former official for President Donald Trump’s transition team appeared on CNN to try to refute the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russian intelligence officials, but he spent much of the time lashing out at the intelligence community and former Vice President Al Gore.
During an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Monday, former Trump campaign official Robert Wasinger was asked what he knew about the campaign’s contacts with Russia, and he immediately tried to deflect blame for the scandal onto the intelligence community.
“I think right now everybody needs to take a step back,” he began. “All we really know, the only thing that’s come out is that the national intelligence community illegally wiretapped [former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn] having a conversation. That’s the only thing we know. The rest of it is very imprecise allegations and rumors and innuendo. I don’t know what the allegation is about the contacts.”
The only reason that the intelligence community was listening in on one of Flynn’s phone calls was because he was in contact with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, whose calls are routinely monitored by American intelligence agencies.
Despite Wasinger’s attempts to blame the intelligence community, however, Camerota wouldn’t let him off the hook.
“There were repeated contacts between high level Trump aides and Russia, and that this was before Mr. Trump was in the White House,” she noted. “Which, of course as we know, there’s only one president at a time so that would run afoul of rules and tradition.”
Wasinger kept insisting, however, that the real problem was the intelligence community, which he said would have been better off going after a real threat to the republic such as Al Gore.
“I think again, like I said, what we have is the national intelligence community with illegal tapping letting out that information to the Washington Post in an effort to take out former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn,” he insisted, before pivoting to talking about the 1996 scandal where then-VP Gore improperly attending a fundraiser at a Chinese Buddhist temple. “I think if you take a step back at some of the other elections where allegations like this have been made, particularly in ’96 with the Chinese fund-raising, we had actual evidence of the Chinese trying to influence the election through financial contributions.”
Watch the whole segment below.