“There’s one campaign and only one campaign” that colluded with Russians in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and it wasn’t President Donald Trump’s, Corey Lewandowski claimed during a Monday interview on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“It’s very clear. I was there before Donald Trump ever came down that escalator. We never colluded with Russians,” said Lewandowski, who managed the Trump campaign in its early months. “There’s one campaign and only one campaign that has admitted to taking $5 million of their campaign money, going and hiring a British spy to go and put a false dossier together — and it’s the Clinton campaign.”
Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign committee and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the Trump-Russia dossier, characterized by former FBI Director James Comey as “salacious and unverified.” The payments went through a Washington, D.C., law firm with strong Democratic ties.
After months of investigating whether any Trump campaign officials colluded with Russian government or business interests seeking to sway the election on the Republican presidential nominee’s behalf, Lewandowski said that the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) have come up with no evidence pointing to the chief executive or his 2016 campaign.
The evidence that has turned up points instead to the campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, he said.
“So there should be an investigation into Russian collusion, and it’s the Clinton campaign and the [former Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta team who took $5 million of campaign money and went out and put together a false dossier, which we now know was used to put together a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen on U.S. soil,” Lewandowski said.
Lewandowski was referring to a four-page memo summarizing classified information and written by Republican aides to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). This memo first disclosed that DOJ and the FBI used the dossier in seeking approval by a secret intelligence court to spy on a volunteer Trump foreign-policy adviser during the campaign.
“So there was collusion by the Clinton campaign. It’s unequivocal,” Lewandowski said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday that special counsel Robert Mueller had indicted 13 Russians in connection with illegal interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Rosenstein stressed, however, that there was “no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity” of swaying the election.
Lewandowski also pointed to criticism Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, leveled against former President Barack Obama’s administration. Schiff told NBC News Friday that Obama — who was warned in 2014 of Russian efforts to interfere with U.S. elections — should have established a “more forceful deterrent” and “should have called [the Russians] out much earlier.”
“I never thought I’d say it — I agree with Adam Schiff. He’s correct,” Lewandowski said. “What we’ve seen from this recent indictment is that the government was aware in 2014 — 14-16 months before Donald Trump ever got into the race — and the CIA director, the director of national intelligence, the president of the United States, and the former head of the FBI seemed to have done nothing about it.”
“So there should be accountability on their part because anybody who messed with the U.S. election system should be held accountable,” Lewandowski said. “And that administration did nothing, it seems like, to stop the Russians from potentially meddling in our election system.”