President Donald Trump still isn’t sure whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election, despite determinations by the major U.S. intelligence agencies that it did so, new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said Sunday.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Scaramucci initially cited an anonymous source who he said called on Saturday to tell him that if “the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those emails, you would have never seen it.”
Scaramucci referred to Democratic National Committee emails whose release created controversy for the party during the late stages of last year’s campaign.
“You would have never had any evidence” of the Russian interference efforts, Scaramucci said his source told him. “Meaning they’re super confident in their deception skills and hacking. My point is, all of the information isn’t on the table yet.”
Pressed on who his source was, Scaramucci said it was the president himself.
“He called me from Air Force One. He basically said, you know, this is, maybe they did it. Maybe they didn’t do it,” Scaramucci said.
In general, Scaramucci downplayed Russia’s interference in the 2016 election as well as the investigations into whether Trump’s team actively colluded with Russian officials on those efforts.
On CNN, he described the Russia probe as a “nonsensical thing. On Fox News Sunday, Scaramucci said he believes the inquiries are “overblown.”
“I worked in intensely on that campaign and I think that the Russian situation is completely overblown,” he told host Chris Wallace on Fox. “I was falsely accused of things related to Russia, I know other people are being falsely accused of things related to Russia, and I’m confident that tomorrow when Jared Kushner speaks ― and I’ll keep my fingers crossed in saying this to you ― it’ll probably be the last time that he has to talk about Russia.”
Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, is scheduled to testify at a closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee session on Monday. Kushner is under scrutiny for conversations he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as well as a meeting he took with a Russian banker.
He also attended the meeting the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., had with the Kremlin-linked attorney during last year’s campaign in hopes of obtaining damaging information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Scaramucci dismissed that meeting as a “non-event.”
“It had no impact on the campaign,” he said on CNN. “None.”
Scaramucci also sought to downplay Trump’s tweets about his power to pardon, claiming “the president’s thinking about pardoning nobody.”
He declined to say whether the president will sign the bill Congress is considering that would place new sanctions on Russia.
“He hasn’t made the decision yet to sign that bill one way or the other” should it be sent to him, he said.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was appointed to replace Sean Spicer after he resigned Friday, also addressed that legislation on ABC’s “This Week,” saying “the administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place.”
Later Sunday, Trump, on Twitter, once again called the Russia investigations “a phony Russian Witch Hunt” and an “excuse for a lost election.”