By Sam Dorman
Published April 19, 2019
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., argued the special counsel's report "certainly" showed evidence of collusion and rejected the idea that President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign deserved an apology for the controversial surveillance conducted under former President Barack Obama's administration.
When Fox News host Julie Banderas asked Swalwell about a potential apology, the California congressman said that special counsel Robert Mueller's report "laid out a multiplicity of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians."
He contended that although special counsel Robert Mueller's report didn't declare collusion beyond a reasonable doubt, it still showed enough evidence of troubling contacts between Russia and Trump's associates. Swalwell argued that "reasonable suspicion," a lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt," was all that was necessary for starting an investigation.
"There was certainly evidence of collusion, not evidence that met the beyond a reasonable doubt standard" he said on "Outnumbered" before affirming suspicions that Trump potentially knew about Russian activities related to the election. "This president is in no way cleared," Swalwell said.
Swalwell's appearance came amid growing pressure from Democrats for the Justice Department to reveal more information related to the investigation. The Trump administration, however, has declared "Game Over," arguing that the report put collusion and obstruction concerns to rest.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump's close adviser and 2016 campaign manager, indicated that the press owed her and the rest of the administration an apology. "We’re accepting apologies today, too, for anybody who feels the grace in offering them," she told reporters on Thursday.
"The big lie that you’ve let fly for two years, it’s over, folks," she also said in reference to collusion.
Swalwell, who serves on both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, has acted as a key public figure in the Democratic push for further investigation. His interview indicated that Democrats would continue to pursue the issue despite speculation that it might be a poor political strategy going into 2020.
Swalwell told Banderas that he wasn't so much worried about the political consequences as he was about preserving American democracy.
"It's such an extraordinary remedy, we shouldn't even consider the political consequences," he said. "It's the consequence to our democracy — are we going to set a standard and say no president should do this or are we not?"
When asked whether Democrats should apologize, Swalwell seemed to decline the opportunity.
"I'll never apologize for loving our country so much that I don't think any campaign transition or president should draw as close to the Russians and welcome their support and never tell law enforcement while they were seeking to support them," he said.
"I'll always stand on our side rather than Russia's, and I just wish the president would, too," he said.