Sen Coons: FBI has transcripts showing collusion between Putin, Trump campaign

posted at 7:21 pm on March 3, 2017 by John Sexton

There’s a caveat to this claim: Sen. Coons hasn’t actually seen the transcripts. Nevertheless, Coons tells MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell he “believes” they exist.

“Is the FBI Director being forthcoming enough with the intelligence committees?” Mitchell asks. Sen. Coons replies, “I think it’s important that the outcome of that counter-intelligence investigation be fully shared with the intelligence committees, both in the House and the Senate.

“There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence and senior Russian political leaders, including Vladimir Putin, were cooperating, were colluding with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election. And if that information is stonewalled or hidden away and if we are not able to get that on the Senate intelligence committee, House intelligence committee then I think that has real consequences for our democracy.”

Sen. Coons then urged Director Comey to complete the investigation and share all of the “products” with the intelligence committees. Andrea Mitchell then asked Coons to clarify what he was saying. “Do such transcripts exist? Is that what you’re saying?” she asked.

“I have not seen them. I believe they exist,” Coons replied.

So far as I know this is the first time anyone has claimed the FBI has proof of such collusion, but the general complaint about the FBI not being forthcoming enough has been made previously by Rep. Adam Schiff on the House side. From the LA Times:

“We cannot represent to the American people that we’re doing a thorough job if the Department of Justice or the FBI is unwilling to tell us what indeed they’ve looked at, what leads they have followed, where they have found substance and where they have not,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) told reporters shortly after his committee was briefed by FBI Director James Comey.

The New York Times story that really got this ball rolling a couple weeks ago claimed the FBI was investigating contacts between Russia and the campaign but also reported no evidence of collusion had been found:

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

Has something changed or is Sen. Coons speculating about transcripts he admits he has not seen? Also, how does he know they exist or have any idea what they say if the FBI is withholding them?


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