Swalwell Suggests Trump Is Taking Orders From Putin

April 11, 2019

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) during an appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday suggested President Donald Trump is taking orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Co-anchor Willie Geist pointed out that President Donald Trump would likely argue that Swalwell was "way out there on the question of his campaign's relationship with Russia," and highlighted Swalwell's claim that Trump is an agent of Russia.

"Do you regret saying that?" Geist asked.

"No, he acts on their behalf," Swalwell responded. "He puts their interests too often ahead of our own interests. That affects opportunity at home. If we become more like Russia where it's a top-floor economy and only the fat cats are able to benefit and all of us just toil away—"

"But do you think he's taking orders from Vladimir Putin? When you say agent what do you mean by that?" Geist pressed.

"If he wasn't taking orders, he wouldn't take the interpreter's notes. If he wasn't taking orders, he would release the report that he said he's 100 percent exonerated with. And so why does he act so suspiciously with in ways he doesn't act with Theresa May or Macron or Trudeau? It's just all of my experience as a prosecutor tells me something is wrong with the way that he's acting, the way that he's lying, and that we should all be concerned about it," Swalwell said.

Swalwell added, however, that he is not surprised the attorney general's summary of special counsel Robert Mueller's report did not find evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"As a prosecutor, I know proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest standard in the law. It's not the same as more likely than not," Swalwell said.

"And it was funny, I went on Fox News the same day that the Smollett case had happened, and they were expressing such outrage that he was not charged with a crime," he continued. "And I told the anchor if you're so upset that you know what happened, you believe he lied about it because he did it, but he wasn't charged with a crime, then you have the same gripe that I have. But we should both accept in our country that you can know what happened, but it doesn't meet standard of breaking the law."

In January, Swalwell told MSNBC's Chris Matthews he thought Trump was a Russian agent and was "working on behalf of the Russians."

In March, Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Congress saying that Mueller "did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election."