Corey Lewandowski says anybody who colluded "should be in jail for the rest of their lives." Oops.
Talking tough while insisting there’s still no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia operatives in 2016, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski also seemed to suggest Donald Trump Jr. belongs in prison.
Trump’s ally Lewandowski stepped in it Monday morning on CNN while attempting to counter “New Day” co-host Chris Cuomo’s point that nobody knows what special counsel Robert Mueller has found — and it’s entirely possible Mueller has proof of illegal cooperation during the campaign.
Lewandowski said: “And what I’ve said, and I want I mean and have been very clear about is this, if anybody attempted to interference with our us election system by coordinating or cooperating with an outside source, to materially change the outcome of the election, those people should be in jail for the rest of their lives.”
It’s just the latest tangled web Trump allies find themselves in as they try to spin away mounting evidence of Russia wrongdoing.
Confidently insisting nobody from the Trump campaign is guilty of a crime, Lewandowski condemned election collusion as an offense worthy of life in prison.
But in the real world, proof of that collusion is already hiding in plain sight. Namely, there’s the infamous meeting that Trump’s most senior campaign officials took in June 2016. That’s when a representative of the Russian government promised to provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
It was the meeting about which Donald Trump Jr. responded, “If it’s what you say I love it.” Don Jr. then included the campaign chairman and Trump’s son-in-law to hear about the Clinton dirt and to discuss Russian sanctions, which Moscow wanted Trump to lift if he got elected.
When the Trump Tower meeting was disclosed in 2017, Trump Sr. helped concoct a phony cover story to try to shield his son, and insisted the meeting had been about Russian adoption policy.
Yet even Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon later dubbed the Trump Tower meeting to have been “treasonous.”
Indeed, it couldn’t be more clear: Russian operatives specifically reached out to collude with the Trump campaign, offering them damaging information on Clinton, and Trump Jr. enthusiastically accepted the offer.
More recently, Mueller is reportedly examining whether Trump himself knew that Russians had hacked Democratic emails even before they were published on Wikileaks during the summer of 2016.
If Trump knew in advance, that means he took part in a criminal conspiracy. And if Trump knew in advance, as former federal prosecutor Paul Butler told CNN last week, “He’s going down.”
Those jail cells may soon become crowded.