Supposed Russian collusion with his 2016 campaign is a “Democrat hoax,” President Donald Trump said Friday, and the FBI’s probe of his vanquished opponent Hillary Clinton’s email scandal was “rigged.”
Talking to reporters before boarding Marine One outside the White House, Trump said most Democrats aren’t claiming proof exists that he colluded with Russian officials.
“There is absolutely no collusion. That has been proven,” the president said, adding:
When you look at the committees, whether it’s the Senate or the House, everybody—my worst enemies, they walk out, they say, ‘There is no collusion, but we’ll continue to look.’ They’re spending millions and millions of dollars.
What Trump said of Democrats is accurate in some cases.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is investigating the potential of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, previously has said “there is a lot of smoke” but not a “smoking gun at this point.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, replied “not so far,” when asked last month if there is evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election.
However, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, recently said “it just doesn’t make rational sense” to believe there was no collusion between the Kremlin and Trump operatives.
What special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating is a “Democrat hoax,” Trump said in his Friday morning remarks, one that was “an excuse for losing the election.”
“It should have never been this way, where they spent all these millions of dollars,” Trump said.
Trump declined to answer a question on whether Mueller is biased, following a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday where Republicans questioned the special counsel’s fairness after recent revelations about the partisan inclinations of lawyers and other personnel on his team.
Mueller so far has secured a guilty plea for lying to the FBI from former Trump national security adviser and top campaign adviser Michael Flynn, as well as from a low-level campaign aide, George Papadopoulos.
Mueller’s team also secured a federal indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who pleaded not guilty to a dozen criminal charges, including tax evasion.
None of the charges is connected directly to any coordination between Moscow and Trump Tower.
Trump also referred to recent questions of special treatment by the FBI, including then-Director James Comey, during the agency’s 2016 probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official business while President Barack Obama’s secretary of state from 2009 through 2012.
Trump also said many Americans are angry about obvious bias against him and for Clinton.
“When you look at what they did with respect to the Hillary Clinton investigation, it was rigged,” Trump told reporters about the FBI probe. “And there’s never been anything like it in this country that we’ve ever found before. It’s very, very sad. Very, very sad.”