The former ethics chief from George W. Bush’s administration, Richard Painter, said that people will be “going to the slammer” over special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“We know there was collusion,” he said on CNN on Thursday evening.
“The president can deny it all he wants, but we have the meeting in Trump Tower with the Russian agents,” he said. “We have Mr. [George] Papadopoulos who had his Russian handler, the professor they called him, over in London, and now we’ve got [Rick] Gates and his Russian agent contact.”
Painter continued to describe the critical distinction over whether the collusion was illegal and if it violated campaign finance laws.
“A lot of people are lying about their contacts with the Russians, and that’s criminal, so we’re going to have people going to the slammer over this. The question is who and how high up this is going to reach with respect to criminal conduct. But the notion there’s ‘no collusion’ is just ridiculous. There is collusion, and we know it by now.”
Painter served in the Bush administration from 2005 through 2007. He has been a frequent Trump critic. Last year, he criticized the president for mishandling calls to the families of fallen U.S. soldiers.
“He has no empathy, no understanding of the human emotions of what people go through because he never did it himself, he stayed home during Vietnam with his sore foot or whatever it was,” he said.
The former ethics chief also warned that the lying and obstruction of justice related to the president’s firing of James Comey as the FBI director could be “what puts an end to this White House.”
Watch the clip of Painter’s comments from a CNN tweet below:
“We’re going to have people going to the slammer over this, the question is who, and how high up this is going to reach…the notion there’s no collusion is just ridiculous” – Richard Painter, former White House Ethics Lawyer for President George W. Bush https://t.co/luUz3puvor pic.twitter.com/VYobsvkOoA
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) March 29, 2018