“Who knows what their motives are?”
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan told host Chuck Todd that in the much-hyped debate over whether collusion with Russia exists, the preponderance of evidence points to former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and not to President Donald Trump.
“Do you believe the Russians interfered with the 2016 election?” Todd asked. Jordan answered in the affirmative, conceding that he agreed with the intelligence community’s consensus. However, the Ohio congressman, who is known for being a staunch defender of the president, rejected the notion that this somehow implicated the Trump campaign. “Who knows what their motives are?” he said, referring to Russia.
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“What I know is there is not one bit of evidence to know any type of coordination, collusion, conspiracy whatsoever between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the election,” Jordan added.
The House Oversight Committee member downplayed the testimony given to his committee Wednesday by the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
“There is all kinds of evidence to show that the Clinton campaign worked with Russians to impact the elections, via that whole thing I just described where they fired the law firm who hired Fusion, who hired Christopher Steele, who communicated with Russians, and put together the fake dossier,” he said.
Jordan appeared to be trying to flesh out a claim that Trump has made repeatedly. The collusion issue, which has divided pundits mostly along partisan lines, has been fraught with cross-accusations. A Washington Post fact-check rejected the notion that Clinton or Steele colluded with Russia. Steele was in touch with Russian sources to put together a dossier on Trump’s Moscow ties on behalf of Fusion GPS, which was initially hired by the Clinton campaign.
“But it’s a huge leap to say Clinton colluded with Russians to do this,” wrote the Post’s Glenn Kessler. “Instead, you have (a) the campaign hiring (b) a research firm that hired (c) a researcher who spoke (d) to Russian sources. Steele, for his part, has suggested he tried to alert reporters and the FBI because he was appalled by what he had discovered. The closest connection to Clinton is the fact that Steele gave to the FBI material written by Clinton associates, but it’s unclear what the FBI did with that memo.”
However, Trump’s defenders have argued that the suspicions against him are similarly flimsy.
Published by Buzzfeed News in January of 2017, many of the dossier’s most inflammatory claims remain unverified.
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