Saying there were “no phone calls, no meetings, no collusion,” President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed for an investigation of “the other side” amid the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, while claiming “we need intelligence that brings our country together.”
“A lot of bad things happened on the other side, not on this side, but on the other side. And somebody should look into it, because what they did is really fraudulent and somebody should be looking into that and by somebody, I’m talking about you know who,” Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, a reference widely interpreted to mean Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In a free-ranging phone interview, Trump said the Democratic memo released by the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday afternoon was a “total confirmation” of the GOP memo released three weeks ago by Rep. Devin Nunes (D-Calif.), even though the Democratic response purports to rebut Republican claims that the FBI and the Justice Department relied on the disputed Steele dossier in an application to spy on a Trump campaign adviser.
Trump has repeatedly said there was no “collusion” between his campaign and Russian officials and has publicly urged Sessions to investigate top officials at the FBI over their handling of the investigation. Sessions’ recusal from overseeing what has become special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is reportedly a frequent sore spot in his relationship with the president.
The president also returned to one of his familiar foils, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who as the top Democrat on the intelligence panel crafted his party’s response to the Nunes memo. Trump claimed Schiff leaks information to reporters in actions that were “probably not legal.”
“You see this Adam Schiff has a meeting and leaves the meeting and calls up reporters and then all of a sudden they’ll have news and you’re not supposed to do that — it’s probably illegal to do it. You know he’ll have a committee meeting and he’ll leak all sorts of information. You know, he’s a bad guy.”
Trump added that the blame for not stopping “Russian meddling, if you want to call it that” in the 2016 presidential election rests with President Barack Obama, since he was in office when Russian interference occurred. But he added: “We should all be on the same team. We should all come together as a nation.”