On Monday morning, before FBI Director James Comey appearance before the House Intelligence Committee reportedly to say the agency has found no evidence of collusion between the Russian government and Trump officials, President Donald Trump tweeted: “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!”
The tweet prompted an immediate response from Chris Cillizza, a political analyst at The Washington Post, and new CNN hire to write: “Evidence?”
Just 14 hours prior on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, told host Chuck Todd that there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion,” between Russian officials and Mr. Trump’s team. This was two weeks after James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, denied any such evidence of under his watch.
“I was surprised to see Director Clapper say that because I don’t think you can make that claim categorically as he did,” said Mr. Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee. “I would characterize it this way at the outset of the investigation: There is circumstantial evidence of collusion. There is direct evidence, I think, of deception and that’s where we begin the investigation.”
Three days ago, on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC, Ms. Maddow hosted Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager Robby Mook and spokesperson Glen Caplin so that he could explain “the connections and coincidences that point to collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”
Jennifer Palmieri, Mrs. Clinton’s former communications director said on that same network a few weeks prior: “I believe that there was collusion. I believe that the Trump staff, the Trump associates in some form were at a minimum coordinating with WikiLeaks. And the timing of the leaks they were just too well prepared. When WikiLeaks came out with their leak du jour in the morning, the Trump campaign was ready to go with their statement about that.”
Earlier this month, Sen. Chris Coons said on MSNBC that the FBI had transcripts — hard evidence — that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. He then had to retract his statement when interviewed on Fox News a few days later: “I don’t have and I don’t know of any conclusive proof one way or the other about whether there was collusion between senior levels of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.”
After a report from The New York Times in February, claiming Mr. Trump’s campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence, online news site Mic reported Mrs. Clinton’s campaign team had difficultly containing a “certain amount of schadenfreude.”
“We told you so!” Mrs. Clinton’s former director of talent acquisition and development Nathaniel Koloc told Mic of The Times report. “We were not playing politics with our attempts to point to evidence that there was shady stuff going on between Trump and Russia. I am literally not surprised by any of this so far.”
Mr. Mook called for a “full investigation” into the allegations telling Mic, “Anyone who gave aid, support or comfort to the Russians must be held accountable for treason.”
So is there really any doubt that the Democrats made up and pushed the narrative of Mr. Trump and his team’s supposed collusion with Russia? I don’t think so.
Sorry, Cillizza. The evidence is plenty — and all on the record.
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