CNN host Chris Cuomo and Rep. Sean Duffy (R., Wis.) had an unusual exchange Friday morning on "New Day," as Cuomo repeatedly demanded Duffy prove a negative; in this case, give evidence of his statement that there is "no evidence" of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
As Republicans and Democrats alike have stated, however, no evidence has yet been produced to prove the Trump campaign and the Russians coordinated efforts during the 2016 election. That is not to state that such evidence could not come to light later, as Duffy said, but Cuomo repeatedly demanded Duffy prove himself.
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After Duffy also remarked on the absence of evidence surrounding the probe now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Cuomo interjected.
"We both know, as attorneys, it is naive at best to suggest we could know," Cuomo said. "We don't know what the FBI has or what they don't have now in the hands of Bob Mueller, and to suggest that this relatively early in an investigation for the FBI—they often look at things for years—that they should know or they should have told people what they have and the proof should be out there, that's equally deceptive, don't you think?"
Duffy started to say he didn't buy into the collusion conspiracy accusations before Cuomo interrupted.
"But you can't know whether there was or not," he said. "That's my point. How do you know there was none? How do you know that there was? You can't know. You don't know the proof."
Duffy said he agreed but added, "You don't know that either."
"The cable news networks are aflame of running stories about collusion between Trump and Russia, and you don't know, and I don't know that," Duffy said.
Cuomo kept at it, comparing Duffy to people making accusations of collusion without proof. Duffy attempted to explain he was merely stating the fact there was no evidence to substantiate that claim, not that the claim itself was false on its face.
"What I think is happening is there is a conversation about collusion, and my point is there's no evidence of collusion," Duffy said.
"We don't know what the evidence is!" Cuomo said. "Why do you think you would know if there's evidence of collusion? Why would you know?"
Duffy pointed to the numerous leaks coming out of the White House, saying "there are no secrets" and he had "pause" about the accusations.
"You can have pause," Cuomo said. "I'm just saying, it's such a gross assumption that you're making. Because it didn't leak, we should assume it's not true."
When Duffy repeated yet again there was "no evidence," Cuomo got more flustered, as he continued to assume Duffy meant he was saying the collusion charges couldn't be true at all. When Duffy said there was "no public information" about collusion, Cuomo acknowledged it was a "fair statement."
The two continued their philosophical conversation about assuming the negatives for several minutes. Duffy stated at one point that he would be happy to come back and discuss evidence of collusion should any come to light.
When Cuomo again accused him of stating flatly there was no collusion, Duffy corrected him to say that he didn't "think" there was any. Cuomo bristled, saying "What's the difference?"