U.S. President Donald Trump’s explanation for the appearance of his team colluding with Russia morphs by the day at times as he tries out different ramshackle “defenses.” On Twitter this Monday, he again floated the idea that the Democrats are the real ones guilty of collusion, using a quote from former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino’s Monday appearance on Fox & Friends to do so.
Quoting Bongino, he wrote, in part:
‘Collusion with Russia was very real. Hillary Clinton and her team 100% colluded with the Russians, and so did Adam Schiff who is on tape trying to collude with what he thought was Russians to obtain compromising material on DJT. We also know that Hillary Clinton paid through a law firm, eventually Kremlin connected sources, to gather info on Donald Trump.’
There are a number of issues with the president’s assertions.
To begin with, the premise that Trump closes with that his team did not ever engage in collusion with the Russians at all is bogus. As one example, in 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump team members met with Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya for the express purpose of obtaining dirt on Hillary from the Russian government. Trump himself admitted as much on Twitter literally just the other day.
The weight of the credibility of collusion allegations against the Trump team is so great that it recently pushed Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to wrongly assert that collusion isn’t even a crime. Yet, here he is claiming “NO COLLUSION!” yet again.
In addition, the notion that the Hillary Clinton camp engaged in the same kinds of activities is false. The Clinton camp paid a firm, Fusion GPS, for opposition research on Trump. That firm, in turn, employed former British spy Christopher Steele to conduct the research. According to testimony from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson before Congress, Steele did not pay his sources, which included Russians, as Trump suggests.
In addition, when he found disturbing information about possible Trump-Russia ties, he sought to alert the U.S. government and the public via the American media system. He may have come in contact with individuals who happened to be Russian, but he did not actively and secretly engage in the coordinated Russian government attempt to tilt the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor. There’s a big difference.
Trump is determined to pin down Democrats as the real culprits in the Russia scandal, however.
He quotes an allegation that California Democrat and U.S. House Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff was caught “on tape trying to collude with what he thought was Russians to obtain compromising material on” the president. In reality, Schiff was simply the target of an unfortunate prank call made by comedians claiming to have evidence of Russian held compromising material on Trump.
Schiff did take the call, but according to a spokesperson, both before and after the conversation the committee “informed appropriate law-enforcement and security personnel of the conversation, and of our belief that it was probably bogus.
In other words, Trump’s defenses against the onslaught of the Russia scandal just keep falling apart.
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot