Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, joins Yahoo News Editor in Chief Daniel Klaidman and Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff to discuss the newly published Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
- Quite a report that the committee released yesterday, nearly 1,000 pages. Lots of new information we hadn't seen before. Goes beyond what was in Robert Mueller's report.
And one of the striking things about this is, once again, we have split screen America. Senator Rubio, the acting chairman, and the Republicans say their takeaway from the report is there was absolutely no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Democrats filed additional views, saying this is what collusion looks like. What's your takeaway?
- Well, I'm not sure Marco Rubio read the same report I did, because when you have the chair of the campaign, Paul Manafort, sitting down with a Russian intelligence agent and giving him detailed internal polling data-- I don't want to get into what's collusion, what's cooperation, what's conspiracy. But it was certainly a link between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence services.
Now, one of the most important things here is that when people see polling data, they think, you know, Hillary's up by two, or Trump is up by one, or whatever. No.
To a politician, internal polling data is a roadmap to the campaign. It's the blueprint. It's how you're doing with certain demographics, how you're doing in certain geographic areas, where are the battleground states, what are the issues that are working and not working?
So when you're talking about handing over internal polling data to a Russian agent in August of an election year, I don't know how anybody can say that's not some kind of important and serious and disturbing link.
And then of course, you have the famous Trump Tower meeting, where Donald Trump Jr. emails what he's told. There'll be some dirt on Hillary. He says, I love it. If it's what you say it is, I love it, and perhaps we could use it in the fall.
So Mueller decided it did rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy, I think probably because they couldn't establish an explicit agreement, which is one of the elements of conspiracy. There has to be an agreement. And in this case, it was more a sort of course of conduct.
I remember from law school a term called "conscious parallelism," where you have two entities that are both working in the same direction. They know what the other's doing. They see a mutual benefit. And I think that's probably a better way to characterize what was going on.