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Fact-checkers found President Trump’s recent interview in The New York Times chock-full of false and misleading statements.
Trump rattled off falsehoods published in the Dec. 28, 2017 article on everything from how many social media followers he has to what’s known about possible collusion between Russia and his presidential campaign.
On that topic, Trump made an eye-opening claim about Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California:
"Virtually every Democrat has said there is no collusion. There is no collusion. . . . I saw Dianne Feinstein the other day on television saying there is no collusion."
Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, two of the three congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
So, a statement from Feinstein declaring "no collusion," would be significant.
Was this another false claim or was there some truth to Trump’s words?
We set out on a fact check.
A White House spokesman did not respond to our request for evidence backing up Trump’s claim.
The president, however, was apparently referring to Feinstein’s Nov. 5, 2017 interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in which she discussed the Russia investigation but never flatly said there’s no collusion. As NPR reported in a similar fact check, Feinstein’s interview took place "following the guilty plea of former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos. Charging documents described conversations Papadopoulos had with Russian-linked individuals where he was promised ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton, as well as hacked emails."
In the CNN interview, Tapper asked Feinstein whether she had "seen any evidence that this dirt, these emails, were ever given to the Trump campaign." Feinstein replied: "Not so far."
Sen. Feinstein's interview on CNN
Tapper then asked: "Have you seen any communications that suggested that the Trump campaign wanted them to release them through a different means?"
Feinstein answered: "I have not."
The senator’s words were in response to a specific portion of the Russia investigation. They are not the same as saying "there is no collusion."
Feinstein spoke more generally about collusion during an Oct. 8, 2017 CBS interview, saying she did not know whether it had taken place.
"It's an open question because there's no proof yet that it's happened, and I think that proof will likely come with Mr. Mueller's investigation," Feinstein said referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
In this case, again, Feinstein did not say there is no collusion.
Tom Mentzer, Feinstein’s spokesman, said he was not aware of the senator ever making such a statement.
Feinstein is running for re-election in 2018 and is being challenged by State Senate Leader Kevin de León, also a Democrat.
Similar Trump claim
In May 2017, Trump made a similar mischaracterization. He tweeted that former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "and virtually everyone else" said "there is no collusion" in the Russia investigation.
PolitiFact National found Trump twisted Clapper’s words from a March 2017 interview in which Clapper said he had no knowledge of improper contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. In response to Trump’s tweet, Clapper later said: "I don’t know if there was collusion or not," and that he did not believe the probe is "a witch hunt." PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim Mostly False.
President Trump recently claimed Sen. Feinstein said "there is no collusion," between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He apparently based his statement on responses Feinstein gave in a November 2017 CNN interview about the Russia probe. While Feinstein said she had "not so far" seen specific evidence about one portion of the investigation, that’s far from declaring there was no collusion. Speaking more broadly about whether collusion took place, Feinstein said in an October 2017 interview that it's "an open question." The president’s claim distorted the senator’s words and gave the wrong impression.
We rate Trump’s claim False.
FALSE – The statement is not accurate.
Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.
The New York Times, 10 Falsehoods From Trump's Interview With The Times, Dec. 29, 2017
The New York Times, Excerpts From Trump's Interview With The Times - The New York Times, Dec. 28, 2017
The Washington Post, In a 30-minute interview, President Trump made 24 false or misleading claims, Dec. 29, 2017
Toronto Star, Donald Trump made 25 false claims in his latest New York Times interview, Dec. 29, 2017
The Daily Caller, Dianne Feinstein Says She Still Hasn’t Seen Evidence Of Collusion [VIDEO], Nov. 5, 2017
CBSnews.com, Transcript: Sen. Dianne Feinstein on "Face the Nation," Oct. 8, 2017
Tom Mentzer, Sen. Feinstein’s spokesman, email exchange, Jan. 2, 2018
PolitiFact, Donald Trump’s Mostly False claim that James Clapper said no collusion found in Russia probe, May 12, 2017
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