Former President Donald Trump responded angrily to the revelation that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton approved the spread of a false allegation that the Trump campaign had links to a Russian bank.
On Friday, former Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Clinton approved sharing information linking Trump to Alfa Bank. The comment came during the trial of Michael Sussman, an attorney who has been accused of making a false statement to the FBI when he tried to interest the agency in the alleged connection.
“This is one of the greatest political scandals in history,” Trump said Saturday, according to Fox News.
“For three years, I had to fight her off and fight those crooked people off, and you’ll never get your reputation fully back.”
“Where do I get my reputation back?” Trump asked.
The Russia allegation dogged Trump throughout much of the first two years of his presidency.
During the 2016 campaign, the FBI launched a probe of the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. From 2017 to 2019, that probe mushroomed into an investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who found no collusion between Trump and Russia.
“I had to fight them off,” Trump said. “And if we had real leadership, instead of people like Mitch McConnell, they would do something about it. And guys like Bill Barr. They would have done something about it.”
Special counsel John Durham was appointed in 2019 to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia allegations. The trial now taking place is the first to emerge from Durham’s work.
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On Friday, Mook said campaign general counsel Marc Elias, then a partner at law firm Perkins Coie, briefed Mook on the allegations.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan — now President Joe Biden’s national security advisor — and communications director Jennifer Palmieri were part of the team that discussed releasing the information.
“I discussed it with Hillary as well,” Mook said.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 31, 2016
“I don’t remember the substance of the conversation, but notionally, the discussion was, hey, we have this and we want to share it with a reporter,” Mook said.
Mook was asked if Clinton approved the “dissemination” of the information to the news media.
“She agreed,” Mook said.