California Rep. Eric Swalwell was hammered on CNN Monday for failing to produce evidence to back up his recent claim that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.
CNN anchors John Berman and Poppy Harlow asked Swalwell, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, about his statement last Friday that he has viewed both classified and unclassified information showing that Trump advisers coordinated with the Kremlin.
“There is fire. I’ve seen evidence on the unclassified and classified side of that fire,” Swalwell said last week.
But when pressed to discuss the unclassified evidence, Swalwell merely rehashed information from widely reported news stories about former Trump advisers Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
All four are reportedly being investigated by the FBI as part of a probe into Russia’s meddling in last year’s presidential election. But so far, no legitimate news outlet has reported any evidence showing that the Trump team worked with the Russians.
Berman and Harlow appeared not to buy Swalwell’s so-called evidence.
“These all may be questionable activity, some of them may actually be in violation of the law, but what you have said on CNN is you have seen evidence of collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russians,” said Berman.
“That’s an incendiary charge,” he continued, adding that, “if that’s the case, we’re just asking what evidence you have of that.”
“Well, I just gave you two examples, I have a lot more,” a defiant Swalwell replied.
“That’s not evidence of collusion,” Berman interjected. “That’s evidence again, of possible wrongdoing, it’s evidence of sketchy activities, but not, as far as I can tell, that they were actually working together on the campaign.”
“John, I disagree,” Swalwell said before cited a decade-old report about Manafort’s lobbying activities and his work for a Ukrainian politician with links to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.
Swalwell then asked the anchors if they trust Manafort’s denials that he coordinated with Russians during the campaign.
“You made these claims. You made these claims of collusion. Where’s the evidence?” Harlow responded.
A defeated Swalwell insisted at the end of the interview there there is “a whole classified side of evidence” supporting his claims about collusion.