House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) is still bitterly clinging to his Trump-Russia collusion narrative because no one has been able to conclusively disprove all of the claims in the Steele dossier — including the salacious claim that President Trump hired hookers to urinate on the Obamas’ bed in a Moscow hotel room.
Swalwell also told Chris Matthews in a recent interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, that all the evidence points to the president being a “Russian agent” and that he has not seen “a single piece of evidence that he’s not” a Russian agent. He stood by those claims on Fox News’s The Story with Martha MacCallum Tuesday night.
Swalwell argued that the only person who had lied during the whole RussiaGate affair was President Trump.
“To the president I say, the only person who has been caught lying about Russia is the president. He said that he’d had no business dealings with Russia. We have now learned that he had dealings going all the way up to and beyond the primary,” Swalwell maintained.
[Swalwell may have a point about the president’s lack of candor on that issue, but that’s a far cry from lying under oath to Congress or the FBI as Russia collusion peddlers Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson, and Andrew McCabe are accused of doing.]
Swalwell then drew a parallel between the Jussie Smollett case and the Trump-Russia collusion case, pointing out that it was understandable for people to be outraged that the charges were dropped in the Smollett case.
“The charges were dismissed, yet we all believe we know what happened because of the evidence that exists in the case,” he said.
“I saw evidence and the country has seen evidence of collusion. Bob Mueller has said that he can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, which I accept, but it doesn’t mean there wasn’t collusion,” Swalwell argued.
MacCallum pointed out that there were a few differences in the cases, including “two years of investigation [in the collusion case] and 2,800 subpoenas, 500 lawyers, 500 interviews, you’ve had 19 lawyers who’ve been working on this.” She added: “Some of the top lawyers in the country have worked on this. So there’s a very big difference between the Smollett case which never saw the light of day, and what we’ve watched over the past couple of years.”
MacCallum went on to play a clip of Swalwell telling MSNBC host Chris Matthews that believes the evidence points to Trump being “a Russian agent.”
“I haven’t seen a single piece of evidence that he’s not,” Swalwell told Matthews.
“Do you still believe the president is a Russian agent?” MacCallum asked the congressman.
“I think he acts on Russia’s behalf and he puts Russia’s interests ahead, too often, of America’s interests,” Swalwell replied.
“Do you think that was too strong a word to call the president of the United States of America a Russian agent?” MacCallum pressed. “That is a very strong charge and you said you have evidence to back that up. Do you stand by that?!”
“The evidence is that he seeks to reduce the role of NATO — that’s Russia’s position. He’s pulled out of Syria — that’s Russia’s position,” Swallwell said.
“He’s also ramped up our … offensive help to the Ukraine,” MacCallum pointed out, as Swalwell talked over her to make the point that sharing some of the same positions of an adversary means you’re somehow “an agent” of said adversary.
“Is that what you really meant when you called the president a Russian agent?” MacCallum asked incredulously.
MacCallum said wearily that she figured that “in light of the Mueller finding, that maybe it’s time for a little but of retrospection.”
“Do you like the way that he works with Russia?” Swalwell demanded. “He kicks interpreters out of the room and destroys their notes?”
“It’s not a question of what I like or don’t like,” MacCallum snapped. “We’re talking about the original charge — which was the president of the United States — in your words — was a Russian agent, and that he had worked with the Russian government through his campaign to throw an American election! So now there are all these sort of revisions being made to the argument,” she argued. “Isn’t it time for a little bit of reflection on everything that’s happened?” MacCallum asked plaintively.
Swallwell answered by repeating his line about Trump acting on Russia’s behalf. “When he meets with Vladimir Putin, he won’t tell the country what was said and he essentially took the notes from the interpreter,” Swalwell said. “Just because he hasn’t been criminally indicted for collusion, doesn’t mean he hasn’t conducted colluding types of behavior with the Russians.”
When asked if he regretted anything he had said about the president that he thought “might have been going too far,” Swalwell answered flatly, “No. I feel very strongly that no candidate, no president-elect, no president should have conducted themselves the way that Donald Trump has with Russia.”
“I’m going to do everything I can as long as I’m in power to always put the United States first,” the California congressman vowed patriotically.
“It doesn’t bother you that the Clinton campaign paid for a dossier by someone who had all kinds of ties to intelligence and put together something that turned out to be not necessarily factual?” MacCallum asked.
You’ll be shocked to learn that that doesn’t bother Swalwell in any way whatsoever.
“What part of it has not been proved factual?” he shot back.
“Christopher Steele himself said that it was not a finished work product,” MacCallum stated.
“What part was not proved factual?” Swalwell repeated, as if the inability to disprove all of the wild claims in the dossier must mean they’re true.
“Are you serious?!” the dumbfounded host exclaimed.
“Yes, which part was proved not factual?” Swalwell demanded.
“For one thing, Michael Cohen said he’d never been to Prague,” MacCallum answered, playing along.
“Which part has been proved not to be factual?” he repeated.
MacCallum said, “there were a few main tenets of the dossier, one of which was the salacious story about what happened in a hotel” [which most people don’t take seriously].
“None of that has proved to be factual,” MacCallum pointed out. “The meeting that Cohen supposedly took in Prague was also proved to not have happened. He testified under oath in front of Congress that he’d never been to Prague.”
“So now you accept what Michael Cohen said? Because if you accept what Michael Cohen said about Prague then I think you also have to accept that Michael Cohen saw Donald Trump talk to Roger Stone when Roger Stone said the Wikileaks attack is happening!” Swalwell exclaimed somewhat incoherently.
“You want to be on the record of believing what was in the dossier,” a resigned MacCallum sighed. “I think there was a lot of — you know evidence to refute that.”
They did agree that they both wanted to see the full Mueller report.