A Russian Attempt at Access: Carson Questions Experts at Hearing

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A Russian Attempt at Access: Carson Questions Experts at Hearing

Three experts agreed that offering a meeting to give the Trump team dirt on Hillary Clinton was an attempt at access.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--When Pres. Trump's son and associates agreed to meet with the Russians in June 2016, the Russians were able to open a door to have access to the administration, said experts who answered questions from Indiana's Rep. Andre' Carson (D), in a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

"The son of a U.S. presidential candidate agreed to accept assistance from a foreign adversary to undermine his father's political opponent," said Carson, before asking questions of Robert Anderson, former FBI agent and expert in anti-espionage, Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor and expert in counter-terrorism, and Stephanie Douglas, also a former FBI agent in the Security division.

"What counter-intelligence risks does this set of facts pose?" asked Carson.

"I think it's the ability to get access to the administration. That's where it starts," said Anderson. "You're talking to people that are around the president or potential president of the United States."

Anderson said since the people who were on Trump's team at the time, were coming from the private sector and corporations, they were not savvy about counter-intelligence threats.

"By taking the meeting, you've made yourself beholding to Putin, however he wants to characterize it down the road," said McCarthy. "So that even if nothing inappropriate happens at the meeting, you have that vulnerability, as well."

Douglas said the entire situation is an illustration of how Russian spying works.

"It shows that a prior relationship that the Trumps had, basically worked with another prior relationship to reach out to Donald Trump, Jr. They use personal relationships and business relationships and then they try to piece it together."

Trump has repeatedly said his administration did nothing wrong in that situation. He said Wednesday that a call to the FBI would not have been necessary before the meeting. Trump claimed that such offers of dirt on opponents, as Russia purported to offer in 2016, does not constitute interference.

PHOTO: CSPAN

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