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.
Two impeachment articles expected against President Trump: reports
Democrats are expected to announce on Tuesday two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, US media reported Monday evening, after laying out their case at a hearing against a president they branded a "clear and present danger" to national security.
The articles will focus on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, The Washington Post said, citing three official familiar with the matter.
It added that the full House of Representatives would vote on the articles next week, ahead of a trial in the Senate.
CNN said a third article on obstruction of justice was still being debated, and the network's sources cautioned that plans were still being finalized.
Ambassador McFaul ‘shocked’ Trump invited Sergey Lavrov back to the Oval Office: ‘What are they thinking?’
Former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul repeatedly said he was shocked that President Donald Trump will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.
McFaul was interviewed Monday evening by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC "The Last Word," where he contrasted how Trump is treating the Russian government of President Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"Ambassador McFaul, I want to get your reaction to the Russian foreign minister meeting tomorrow at the White House, in the Oval Office, with President Trump," O'Donnell said. "That's his second time. President Zelinsky still hasn't gotten that meeting and Donald trump apparently, apparently may be voted articles of impeachment in committee this week because of his interactions with President Zelensky."
House Judiciary to vote on Thursday to impeach Donald Trump: report
Democrats are moving ahead with the impeachment of President Donald Trump following another day of testimony on Monday.
"House Democrats plan to unveil at least two articles of impeachment Tuesday, charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, according to multiple lawmakers and aides. The Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the articles on Thursday, setting up a vote on the House floor next week to make Trump the third president in history to be impeached," Politico reported Monday evening.
"Democratic leaders plan to formally announce the articles at a press conference Tuesday morning. Judiciary Committee Democrats intend to meet ahead of the announcement and review the articles," Politico reported. "The decision to move forward with specific impeachment charges is the most significant move yet for the year-old Democratic House majority, a legacy-defining moment for Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sets up a Senate trial for Trump in early 2020."