More On House Intelligence Findings: Does It Rise To Level Of Collusion?

Mar 13, 2018
Originally published on March 16, 2018 11:46 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I want to bring in NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas, who's been listening to this conversation.

And Ryan, you heard me pressing the congressman there on the charge he made that he has seen evidence of collusion - Republicans, of course, saying there's no evidence of collusion. What do we make of that?

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Well, part of this plays into what has been a very partisan investigation. Republicans have consistently kind of taken the president's side and the president's line of, there is no collusion; we haven't seen any evidence of it. And Democrats have pressed from the other side, saying, no, we have seen evidence of this. But what Castro really seized upon was Roger Stone - in one instance, Roger Stone's communications with WikiLeaks. Now, Stone has - and his communications with WikiLeaks have been under scrutiny by congressional investigators in the House and the Senate. They're believed to be of interest to Robert Mueller, as well, the special counsel.

Now, Stone has denied any contacts with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange or any advance knowledge of Hillary Clinton or John Podesta emails being dumped. So Castro may have additional knowledge than what is in the public realm in order to support his assertion that there is indeed evidence of collusion. But what we have seen in the public is not to the point where we can say, indeed, there has been collusion in the instance of Roger Stone. On the Trump Tower meeting, certainly, Castro is right in that there has been a consistent willingness from what we've seen in the public sphere from people within the Trump camp to take assistance from the Russians when it's offered. Now, whether that rises to the level of collusion is something that, for example, special counsel Robert Mueller is going to have to determine.

GREENE: OK. And, of course, that investigation is going to go on even as the House Republicans say their investigation is over. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas. Ryan, we appreciate it.

LUCAS: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.