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Mehdi Hasan Grills Trump Biographer Who Called President a ‘Kremlin Agent’ During Russia Probe: ‘That Was Absurd’

Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan put Aaron Mate and David Cay Johnston under pressure on Friday by grilling them on their Mueller positions now that the investigation is over.

Hasan started with Mate, noting how he used to be critical of the Russia investigation, but now that the special counsel’s probe seems to have found no evidence of conspiracy, he has celebrated what we know of Mueller’s findings. When challenged on this, Mate argued that if Mueller found evidence of conspiracy, he would’ve been more direct in alleging as much.

“If he had found evidence of it, he would say there’s a Trump-Russia conspiracy,” Mate said. “I am waiting for the full report, I can’t wait to see the underlying evidence, I just don’t think its going to provide people with the fuel for the narrative they’re thinking.”

From there, Hasan pressed Johnston on how “absurd” it was that he referred to Trump as a “Kremlin agent” before Mueller’s report was submitted. Johnston said he had corrected himself, adding that he meant to say “asset” at the time,” but Hasan continued to ask if that was too strong a word, saying “that’s over-egging what we know.”

“In the meaning in the intelligence world of ‘asset,’ Donald Trump is an asset,” Johnston said in his defense. “He is what the old Soviet called a ‘useful idiot.’ He has carried the water of the Kremlin repeatedly.”

Watch above, via Al Jazeera.

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