Tags: Russia Probe | Trump Administration | white house | raj shah | chris cuomo | trump | fbi

Raj Shah, CNN's Chris Cuomo Spar Over FBI, Russia Investigation

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By    |   Monday, 29 January 2018 10:13 AM

President Donald Trump "loves" the rank and file members of the FBI, but there are "few bad apples" at the agency's upper levels that are influencing justice decisions, White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said during a heated interview with CNN "New Day" host Chris Cuomo Monday.

The Trump administration official and Cuomo argued for nearly a half-hour about the FBI, Russia, and a memo Republicans say points to the FBI acting in a corrupt manner during its investigations.

"Chris, Chris, Chris, quit putting words in my mouth," Shah told Cuomo, after he asked him why the administration was trying to paint the FBI as a "nefarious" organization.

"The president and this administration loves the thousands of rank and file FBI agents throughout the country. They do a tremendous job and they are the backbone of the greatest law enforcement agency this world has ever seen."

But, he added, the administration is talking about a "few bad apples of the senior levels of the FBI that have allowed politics to take place, to influence decisions that should be exclusively about justice."

He also insisted that the Trump administration respects the process of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, and has been "fully cooperative."

"Remember, the last president to be hit with a special counsel subpoena was Bill Clinton and not this president," said Shah, adding that Trump "surely intends to" appear before Mueller.

"The details are being worked out between his legal team and the special counsel," said Shah, while also pointing out that former FBI Director James Comey has testified, under oath, to the matter of political influence.

"He said that he changed the way in which he called the Hillary Clinton investigation, what he publicly called it rather than a criminal probe, which is what it was," said Shah. "He changed the nature of what he called it, because of the attorney general, a political appointee of the Obama administration."

Cuomo, though, argued that Comey never testified that he was under undue influence, but that explained his process about making his decisions.

"Don't say James Comey admitted that he was getting hostile influence from anybody there," said Cuomo. "He never said it, Raj. Why paint the FBI as a nefarious organization?"

Cuomo also asked Shah if he has proof of corruption in the FBI's investigation into Russian interference.

"I have the fact that the lead agent in this Russia investigation was removed from the case specifically for political bias, Peter Strzok," said Shah. "He was showing political bias, which is something you refuse to admit. Show the viewers exactly those text messages which led to his removal."

Strzok also was in the room to interview Clinton, said Shah, but Cuomo pointed out she wasn't under oath.

"I'm not wrong," said Shah. "He was removed from the case. You can scream from the rooftop at CNN the man was removed from the case."

Shah also discussed the president's relationship with Russia, saying he didn't agree with Cuomo's "premise" that Trump is easier on Russia than any other countries.

"It was just last month that the president authorized the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which is something the previous administration was not willing to do in its fight against Russian separatists," said Shah. "We'll move forward on the sanctions and meet our obligations."

Trump, meanwhile, is responsible for foreign policy and that means the United States must work with Russia in some areas.

"He has been forceful and he's pursued America's interests around the globe," said Shah. "In Syria he authorized military strikes. . . this president doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk."

Trump has been more tough on North Korea, said Shah, because Russia has not threatened to "annihilate portions of the United States. . . If Vladimir Putin went in that direction, the United States and this president would respond forcefully."

Shah also discussed claims made by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and others concerning a "secret society" within the FBI, saying he isn't calling them out because he prefers to allow members of Congress to defend their own actions.

"What we are saying is we want a Department of Justice and we want an FBI that's above political bias," he said.

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White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah and CNN's "New Day" host Chris Cuomo argued during a heated interview over President Donald Trump and a "few bad apples" at the FBI's upper levels. . .
white house, raj shah, chris cuomo, trump, fbi, russia, probe
Monday, 29 January 2018 10:13 AM
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