ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl said on Monday that skepticism of Friday’s NYT report was certainly warranted.
Karl joined “The View” to discuss the potential impact of the New York Times report regarding the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation into ties between President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign. (RELATED: Trump Mocks ABC Reporter For Shutdown Question: ‘What Would You Do?’)
Abby Huntsman began the segment by asking what kind of evidence would be necessary to open such an investigation:
The missing link for me is how do you go from hearing people on TV saying, ‘Oh, we’ve known he’s been an agent the whole time,’ to literally the FBI then launching an investigation into a sitting president looking into whether or not he’s an agent for the Russians. How much evidence do you need for that? And then, where does Mueller fit into all of this?
Karl responded by poking holes in the NYT report, explaining that — based on the available information — the fact that such an investigation was opened said more about the political bias of the leadership within the FBI than it did about anything Trump had actually done.
Again, this is FBI director, the acting FBI director at the time, Andrew McCabe. I think what it shows, and we’ve seen through some of the text messages of some of the others involved in this decision, including Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, these were people that — deeply detested Donald Trump. And now they’re running the FBI and they’re able to open this counter-intelligence investigation and they, you know, they believe that they had solid reason.
“Shouldn’t this make us all then skeptical of this?” Huntsman asked. (RELATED: President Trump Fires Back At ‘Insulting’ Questions Raised By NYT Article)
“I think there are reasons to be skeptical but I think the biggest one is what happened afterward,” Karl noted, pointing out the fact that once special counsel Robert Mueller took over the Russia probe, he made no move to carry on with that counter-intelligence investigation. “There is no indication that Robert Mueller picked up any of this.”
Karl went on to say that Mueller’s report could come out in the coming weeks and that he believed it might be anti-climactic. “He’s already gotten more than 30 indictments, the president’s inner circle, his campaign chairman convicted, his national security adviser indicted, his personal lawyer.”
But then he reiterated his earlier point, saying that nothing had come out that suggests the president actually did anything wrong with regard to Russia. “So much has already been there, but on the central question of did Donald Trump or anybody in his campaign coordinator collude with the Russians in their effort to meddle in the 2016 campaign, we have seen zero evidence of that.”
Joy Behar jumped in then, asking, “What about Manafort?”
Karl explained that Manafort’s indictment was an issue of personal corruption and not a clear case of collusion of any kind:
We know there was this revelation that he gave polling data, but there’s no indication that Manafort either knew of or helped the Russians in their efforts to hack into the DNC e-mails, John Podesta’s e-mails or that massive internet campaign to undermine basically the public discourse in this country.