What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Attacking Mueller investigation, Trump launches accusations of conspiracy

Last week marked the anniversary of the Mueller investigation, and the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee found that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The committee did not refute a report by The New York Times that emissaries of two other countries offered to help the Trump campaign. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield joins Alison Stewart.

Read the Full Transcript

  • ALISON STEWART:

    The Texas school shooting may have dominated this morning’s talk shows, but President Trump had some other issues on his mind, tweeting at length about some of his usual topics: witch hunts, e-mails, servers, Hillary Clinton and the swamp. The president also said that he would officially demand the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI slash DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes. For more on all of this we turn to NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield who joins us now from Santa Barbara. Jeff, reading the President’s tweets from over the weekend, he talked about the FBI putting a spy on his campaign. But then we also have this big New York Times story talking about the influences of other nations aside from Russia, on potential influence on the 2016 election. So it’s kind of two camps, if you’re on one side of the witch hunt camp on the other side the iceberg camp, we’re getting a little bit of the tip but we think there’s something below surface. Do either of these narratives have any crossover, any facts in common?

  • JEFF GREENFIELD:

    It’s hard to find but I would suggest a couple of glimmers. This week the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is controlled by the Republicans, said flatly yes, they agreed with the intelligence community that Russia did try to interfere with the election at the behest of President Putin, with the specific aim of hurting Hillary Clinton and helping Donald Trump. Now that does not mean that they found that there was collusion or that the Trump campaign knew about it, but that’s an important fact that others have in the past tried to minimize or deny. Also it’s interesting to me that that no one in the Trump campaign has denied the Times story that there was in fact a meeting involving an emissary from two Middle Eastern countries that were interested in helping Donald Trump. Now had in fact they done that, that would be illegal. And we don’t know whether the Trump campaign accepted it. But there are certain elements of this story that are beginning to come into focus and say, OK that much we know. And as you say, within the in the middle of all these charges and counter-charges that’s something to grasp onto.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    On the anniversary the year anniversary of the investigation the president and his allies have started to suggest their darker motives here or they consider them dark motives of the investigation. Is this an unusual tactic, or is this a case of deja vu all over again?

  • JEFF GREENFIELD:

    No I think this is in many ways unprecedented the head-spinning part of this to me is that in the past presidents have used the FBI for political reasons. President Johnson regularly got information from FBI Director Hoover. The smoking gun at Watergate was President Nixon’s efforts to get the FBI to back off from the investigation. But what you have here is the president of the United States asserting that the FBI, the Justice Department, among others, are involved in an effort to destroy his campaign, to put a spy in his campaign, which if true would be a scandal of historic proportions. And so the pushback that we’re seeing on the part of the FBI and part of the people critical of Trump, is no no. What you are doing is painting a picture so dark that you are trying to convince your supporters that anything from here on that you hear involving the Trump campaign, just don’t believe it because it’s all a conspiracy. This is something I’ve never seen before.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    The president this morning tweeted about the midterm campaigns. What does the data tell us about where things stand for Republicans and Democrats at this point?

  • JEFF GREENFIELD:

    Well there is, there there is data that would encourage and worry both sides. The two things we think we know about midterms are that they often depend on the president’s job approval rating and the so-called generic question. You ask voters, which party you want to see in charge? Up until very recently the president’s approval numbers have been just abysmal and the generic advantage for Democrats has been in double digits. In more recent days we’ve seen the president’s job approval uptick, still low by historic standards, but better than it was. And the generic advantage shrinking for Democrats, which should please Republicans. However, we also learned that the number of young voters who have registered in the wake particularly of the Parkland shooting last winter have been unprecedentedly large. And that should worry the Republicans because if young voters do turn out, which they historically don’t do in midterms, that’s bad news for the for the Republicans because the president’s approval rating among younger voters is just awful.

  • ALISON STEWART:

    Jeff Greenfield thanks for joining us.

  • JEFF GREENFIELD:

    Thank you.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest