Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) said Thursday on CNN that if President Donald Trump colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, then he committed "the greatest political crime in history."
CNN host John Berman wasn't buying it, calling Lieu's claim "hyperbolic" and "a high bar."
The two's exchange was prompted by a tweet that the president sent out Thursday morning in which he described investigations into possible ties between his campaign and the Russian government as "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 18, 2017
Berman explicitly asked Lieu about the President's tweet.
"Congressman, as a member of the Judiciary Committee, the President now saying you are part of a witch hunt. Your response?" he asked.
"My response is it may be this is the greatest political witch hunt in history, or it may be the greatest political crime in history," he said. "That's why I am so pleased that a special counsel has been investigated to see in fact what has happened."
Berman responded incredulously to Lieu's sweeping claim.
"If his tweet was hyperbolic," said the CNN host, "then that statement you just made was equally hyperbolic. The greatest political crime in American history? That's a high bar, sir, considering of course Watergate."
"If there was collusion with the Russians, that is far beyond what happened with Watergate," he said. "Collusion with the Russians, in fact, would be the greatest political crime in history that resulted in the election of a president."