White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Thursday dismissed a recent CNN report claiming the FBI has information to suggest Trump associates may have worked with Russian operatives in an attempt to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Spicer argued that the report was flimsy and, by its own admission, offered no definitive proof of coordination. “Let’s actually look at what CNN reported: They reported that anonymous U.S. officials have told them that information indicates that [associates] of the campaign and suspected operatives coordinated, which they admit is not conclusive of anything bordering on collusion.” He added: “There is probably more evidence that CNN colluded with the Clinton campaign to give her debate questions than the Trump campaign gave any kind of collusion.”
There is no publicly available, conclusive evidence that people in Trump’s orbit colluded with Russian operatives in an attempt to damage Clinton’s bid. Spicer himself emphasized that on Monday, after FBI Director James Comey publicly revealed for the first time that the agency is investigating Russia’s involvement in the election and whether there was any coordination.
But two recent developments have raised the specter of collusion. CNN’s story, published on Wednesday, alleged that “the FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” And earlier on Wednesday, Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating Russia’s role in the election, stated that “there is more than circumstantial evidence now” of collusion, though he did not provide specifics of what that might be.