White House press secretary Sarah Sanders expressed confidence Friday that a special counsel report would show no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and said President Trump had no reason to collude because he was an “infinitely better” candidate.
Sanders’s comments come amid widespread speculation that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will soon submit his report to Attorney General William P. Barr detailing findings of an investigation into Russian election interference that began in May 2017.
“We’re seeing the same reports that you are that it’s possible that this is coming to a conclusion,” Sanders said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.”
“We feel good about the fact that what we’ve said all along for last two years will be clear: There was no collusion,” Sanders said. “The idea that President Trump needed to collude with Russia in order to beat Hillary Clinton is frankly laughable. He was an infinitely better candidate with a better message, and he outworked her. That’s why he won. It had nothing to do with Russia.”
While Trump prevailed over Clinton in the electoral college, Clinton received nearly 3 million more votes than Trump did nationwide.
Trump also reiterated his eagerness to see the Mueller investigation come to a close, writing in a Friday morning tweet: “The Witch Hunt, so bad for our Country, must end!”
Trump cited, as he has before, recent comments from Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) that his panel has not found direct evidence of coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the panel’s vice chairman, has said such a conclusion is premature given the committee has not concluded its work.
Trump also used Twitter on Friday to distribute a cartoon showing an elderly version of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer in the year 2038. “Update! We should see evidence of Russia-Trump collusion any day now,” Blitzer is depicted saying.
Later, the president pointed his 58.5 million Twitter followers to a Wall Street Journal opinion column by Kimberley A. Strassel arguing that House Democrats are preparing for a “new phase” of investigating Trump amid signs that Mueller will not take him down.
“A must read,” Trump said of Strassel’s piece.
Speaking to reporters at the White House after her television appearance, Sanders said officials there are not focused on the Mueller report.
“Right now, our focus is not on the Mueller report, but it’s on doing our jobs,” Sanders said. “It’s on focusing on the things Americans care about.”
Those things, she said, include preparations for Trump’s meeting next week in Vietnam with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which is part of a push for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
During her Fox News appearance, Sanders accused the media of setting unreasonably high expectations for the summit.
“The only one setting high expectations is probably the media because they’re looking for reasons to attack this president,” Sanders said. “They hate the idea that he’s done so well on something his predecessors couldn’t do anything on. He’s had great success here in the fact that they were even able to sit down at the table. The fact that he’s able to do it again is in itself a big success.”