Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu Tuesday accused CNN of pushing its own version of news concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election, and at one point asked his interviewer what would happen if special counsel Robert Mueller finds there is nothing to back up the claims of collusion..
"Can I ask a question?" Sununu, who served as chief of staff under former President George H.W. Bush asked CNN "New Day" co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. "If Mueller comes out and says that my version is correct and yours isn't, how much crow are you going to eat?"
Camerota denied she had a version of the events, to which Sununu shot back, "of course you do."
The exchange happened after Camerota asked the ex-governor several questions about a CNN story on Tuesday claiming Russian officials talked about having potentially "derogatory" information about Donald Trump and some of his chief aides during the 2016 presidential campaign, and about the ongoing investigation into Russian interference into the election.
"I came on your show with derogatory business information on Donald Trump during the primary," Sununu, who backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the election, told her. "Why is it a surprise? Why is it a news story that the Russians in Washington would convey the same material to the Russians in Moscow? The same story that you're quoting at the bottom of the story noted that the same sources that gave your reporter that information conceded that it was possible the Russians were exaggerating or even making it up."
"Everybody" was talking about Trump's business problems, including his bankruptcies, during the campaign, Sununu continued, wanting to know "why is that news now again?"
Sununu also said it should not be considered unusual that Trump senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner was reportedly setting up a back channel between the campaign and Russia.
"When I was named chief of staff, a lot of ambassadors tried to become good friends in that ten weeks," said Sununu. "It is not unusual. You guys have made back channel a derogatory term. Back channel is a positive asset."
Other presidents, like Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, used similar channels, said Sununu.
"Nixon could not have done China without a back channel," he told Camerota.
Sununu said he does not believe the reporting is correct that Russian equipment was to be used so conversations could be tracked, but if it was that way, there was good reason.
"There might have been concerns that the intelligence community was feeding Obama the information that he probably shouldn't have had," said Sununu.
He said he also thinks there is a great deal of "speculation and suggestion" concerning news or Russia and the election, and that he does not believe there was anything to see concerning Kushner's meeting with a major Russian banker.
"Tell me what you think there is to see there and I'll comment on it," said Sununu. "I can't tell you how many people tried to meet with me between the time I was named chief of staff."
That didn't include a Russian banker with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he conceded, while accusing Camerota of asking "hypotheticals on hypotheticals."
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