“We know there was collusion,” he said on CNN on Thursday evening.
“The president can deny it all he wants, but we have the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian agents,” he said. “We have Mr. [George] Papadopoulos who had his Russian handler, the professor they called him, over in London, and now we’ve got [Rick] Gates and his Russian agent contact.”
Painter said the critical question is whether that collusion was illegal and if it violated campaign finance laws or other laws.
“A lot of people are lying about their contacts with the Russians, and that’s criminal, so we’re going to have people going to the slammer over this. The question is who and how high up this is going to reach with respect to criminal conduct. But the notion there’s ‘no collusion’ is just ridiculous. There is collusion, and we know it by now.”
Painter, who served in the Bush administration from 2005 through 2007, has been a frequent Trump critic. Last year, he slammed the president for mishandling calls to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers.
“He has no empathy, no understanding of the human emotions of what people go through because he never did it himself, he stayed home during Vietnam with his sore foot or whatever it was,” he said.
See his full comments in the clip above.