Blumenthal on Russia/Trump: 'There's a Circumstantial Case to Be Made Here'; 'Supposition'

By Susan Jones | March 3, 2017 | 7:50am EST
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) says there's a "circumstantial case" to be made against the Trump administration when it comes to Russian meddling in the U.S. election. (AP Photo)

( - Do you believe the Trump campaign was really working hand in hand with the Russians to get Donald Trump elected president?

Here's how Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, answered that question on Friday, when he appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe":

I believe that there was involvement or knowledge by members of the Trump campaign, certainly some knowlege about what was going on. That's clearly apparent from the circumstantial evidence.

But even if there was not, we need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and there's a circumstantial case to be made here, but there needs to be more proof before we draw any conclusions.

Blumenthal was asked who specifically in the Trump campaign knew what was going on:

Any connections, contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians give rise to the supposition that there may have been some involvement but that as yet has not been shown by the evidence. So let's not leap to conclusions, let's let the FBI do its work. And if there wwas any connection or complicity, that will be uncovered. The most important point here is to avoid a cover-up because as has been frequently observed on this very show, the coverup is as bad as the crime, and that's why we need to get to the truth.

Was there any complicicty or improper contact between the Trump campaign and the Trump transition and the Trump administration that may have either knowingly or otherwise encouraged or emboldened the Russians to do what they did?

Blumenthal would not say that Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury when he failed to disclose his contact with the Russian ambassador at a time when Sessions was advising the Trump campaign.

"He certainly made a seemingly false statement," Blumenthal said. But he also noted that "violations of the perjury statute and the false statement statute are complex and difficult to prove."  

Meanwhile, Blumenthal is among the Democrats who is demanding that Sessions return to the Judiciary Committee to "testify under oath," where he would be a punching bag for Democrats who went all-out to demonize him at his confirmation hearing.

"I'd like him to explain what was said during that September 8 meeting" (with the Russian ambassador), Blumenthal said.

"Remember, it was at the height of campaign season, during a time of widespread reports of Russian interference in our election and possible complicity and connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians and that kind of meeting requires an explanation -- who said what, how did the meeting take place, who has notes about it that we can see? And what came of it, and also what other meetings there may have been, because if he misled us as to that meeting, what other meetings might he also have failed to disclose?"

Blumenthal said the Russians launched a "sustained attack on our democratic institutions" in what he called "an act of war -- cyberattack on the United States of America."

Sessions told Fox News's Tucker Carlson Thursday night, he does not recall discussing the Trump campaign with the Russian ambassador "in any significant way."

"It was in no way some improper thing. I don't believe anybody in that meeting would have seen or would have believed that I had said something that was improper or unwise. It was a sad thing to be attacked like that. I think we have explained it, and we intend to move forward."

Earlier on Thursday, Sessions recused himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign with which he was involved. "Recusal is not an admission of any wrongdoing," he told Carlson.

Asked if views the leaks and demands for a special prosecutor as a "witchhunt," Sessions replied: "I do not think that what was said about that meeting I had with the Russian ambassador was legitimate. I think it was hyped beyond reason, and I think it was unfair. I was glad to be able to address it today."

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