Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez on Tuesday deflected questions about high-powered Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta being a subject of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Bloomberg host Shery Ahn asked if, following the announcement that the Democratic lobbyist was under investigation, Perez was concerned about Mueller’s probe reaching deeper into the Democratic Party. Perez quickly turned the discussion to the Republican Party. The DNC chairman said he trusted Mueller to discover more about events that occurred, but he argued that evidence so far indicates Democrats are innocent.
"I trust Director Mueller to take the facts where the facts lead him," Perez said. "Here's what we know about the facts to this date: the DNC got hacked, the RNC didn't get hacked, the Russians hacked the DNC."
He further implicated Republicans in a "culture of corruption," referring back to Watergate.
"In Watergate, it took way too many Republicans, way too long to understand that this was an attack on our democracy, and this culture of corruption is something we should never ever tolerate," Perez said.
Perez took a more tolerant line when Bloomberg’s David Gura brought the conversation back to Podesta, who is the brother of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta. Gura asked Perez about Tony Podesta’s decision to step down from the Podesta Group because of the investigation, and the DNC chairman left any decisions of the sort to Podesta and Mueller.
"I leave that up to him to make that decision, and I leave it up to Director Mueller to conduct whatever investigation he needs to do," adding that the "rot" of Russian connections goes "to the top" of Trump’s campaign.
Earlier in the day, Perez decried Republicans for their "appalling silence" on the recent news about the Russia investigation. On Monday, Mueller announced indictments of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, business associate Richard Gates, and campaign aide George Papadopoulos.
UPDATE, 11/10/17 5:13 p.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Richard Gates as Robert.