In an interview with MSNBC broadcast Saturday, former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi said that President Donald Trump is “setting the groundwork” to deem the 2020 presidential election illegitimate if it doesn’t go his way, Mediaite reports.
Figliuzzi’s remarks were in relation to the president’s Friday phone call with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. As CNN reported, during an Oval Office press briefing on Friday, Trump revealed that he had spoken with Putin without extensively discussing Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
According to the president, the phone call lasted for an hour, and the two leaders discussed a number of issues: Venezuela, North Korea, Ukraine, and China. Russian election meddling did not really come up during the conversation, according to Trump, but Mueller’s report was on the agenda.
Trump said that Putin “sort of smiled,” because he “knew there was no collusion.”
The president’s refusal to discuss Russian election meddling with Putin prompted widespread condemnation and outrage, and — according to FBI veteran Frank Figliuzzi — there are a number of reasons why President Trump downplayed the issue refusing to extensively discuss it with his Russian counterpart.
According to Figliuzzi, Trump “wants to leave open the possibility” that the Russians will “help him again” in 2020. Furthermore, according to the national security expert, Trump is “setting the groundwork” to deem the 2020 election illegitimate in case he does not win.
“I’ll add a fourth theory… [Trump] is also setting the groundwork that if the re-election doesn’t go his way, he will claim that that election was illegitimate, hacked, the result of some foreign nation interfering and so we — these all combine to an environment where he simply has little or to no interest in defending and shoring up the security for our next election.”
According to the former FBI official, because of this, the United States is exposed to foreign election meddling. Other countries, such as China, North Korea, and Iran, could meddle in the 2020 election as well, opined Figliuzzi.
The FBI veteran did not stop there. He proceeded to weigh in on what he believes is the “central national security concern” — Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Figliuzzi suggested that Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, manipulates Trump “almost on a daily basis.”
— Mediaite (@Mediaite) May 4, 2019
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Special Counsel Robert Muller wrapped up his investigation into Russian election meddling and related matters in March, finding no Trump-Russia conspiracy. This has caused the president’s approval rating to hit the highest level since April 2017, according to a CNN poll.