- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2019

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended the Trump campaign’s victory in 2016 Sunday, saying they didn’t need any help from Russia.

“Donald Trump won. We didn’t need WikiLeaks. We had Wisconsin. He won because he was the better candidate,” Mrs. Conway said on ABC’s “This Week.”

She said the unveiling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference totally exonerated President Trump on charges of collusion and obstruction of justice.

The 488-page report did not find sufficient evidence of coordination between Trump officials and Russian agents, but Mr. Mueller intentionally left the issue of obstruction as an open ended question.

In his report, Mr. Mueller explained that Mr. Trump wanted to take steps that could have affected the course of the investigation, but he was stopped by top officials, like former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Mr. McGahn told investigators that he threatened to resign from his post in June 2017 after the president asked him to fire Mr. Mueller, based on concerns of conflict of interest.

Mrs. Conway avoided saying whether she believed Mr. McGahn’s claims, but focused on the fact that the special counsel remained in his position and Mr. McGahn remained with the administration until October 2018.

“Don McGahn stayed on the job for 18 months after that which I think is very telling,” she said. “If the president wanted to fire Bob Mueller, he would have.”

Mrs. Conway argued that the report shows that despite Russians’ systematic efforts to influence the 2016 election in favor of then-candidate Trump, their attempts ere futile.

“I think they tried to sow disinformation and discord in our democracy, and we should never allow that from any foreign government, foreign actor. They were also unsuccessful,” she said.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, accused Mrs. Conway of glossing over the issue of Russian interference.

“You heard another display of alternative facts from Kellyanne Conway today where she could not even acknowledge that the Russians tried to help the Trump campaign,” the California Democrat said on “This Week.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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