Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell, of California, in an interview Tuesday claimed that President Donald Trump has “betrayed” his country and has been knowingly working to promote Russian interests.
Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews that the president “knows exactly what he’s doing” in pushing the Kremlin’s agenda.
“He is acting every step like someone who wanted to work for the Russians and who has betrayed our country and put them first every single time,” Swalwell told Matthews.
Swalwell’s remarks follow an explosive report in The New York Times Friday that cited law enforcement officials claiming that the FBI had opened an investigation into whether Trump was a security threat and secretly working on behalf of Russia. A report in The Washington Post Saturday claimed that Trump had shielded records of his conversations with President Vladimir Putin of Russian from senior administration officials.
Trump has denied working for the Russians, or hiding the content of his conversations with Putin.
Swalwell, who also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, further criticized Trump for publicly calling on Russian hackers to target Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, and the president’s recent decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, where Russian-backed President Bashar al-Assad has long called for an end to U.S. involvement.
“I don’t even think it’s unwittingly, I think he knows exactly what he’s doing,” remarked Swalwell of the president, alleging that Trump is acting "on behalf of the Russians."
Swalwell’s comments follow Senate Judiciary Committee hearings Tuesday for William Barr, Trump’s pick for attorney general. Barr was questioned by senators over whether he planned to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election.
Swalwell remarked that he thought that Barr should recuse himself from the probe, but did not believe he would do so as Trump had notoriously taken to Twitter to berate former attorney general Jeff Sessions for taking that very same step.
“That’s why Congress should do all it can to take power away from the attorney general when it comes to Bob Mueller, and just pass legislation protecting Mueller,” Swalwell said.