There are definitely some parallels between the possible Trump-Russia link and spy novels and films. That didn’t escape Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who believes the collusion plot is far-fetched.
“Have you ever, in any of these fantastical situations, heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?” he asked.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions agreed with that sentiment. “It's just like through the looking glass,” Sessions said. “I mean, what is this?”
Some plots are certainly more plausible than others. Then again, we live in some pretty weird times.
Below is a video and transcript:
COTTON: Well, I am on this side of the dais, and I could say a very simple question that should be asked.
A very simple question that should be asked is did Donald Trump or any of his associates in the campaign collude with Russia in hacking those emails and releasing them to the public?
That's where we started six months ago. We have now heard from six of the eight Democrats on this committee, and to my knowledge, I don't think a single one of them asked that question. They have gone down lots of other rabbit trails but not that question.
Maybe that is because Jim Comey said last week, as he said to Donald Trump on three times, he assured him he was not under investigation. Maybe it's because multiple Democrats on this committee have stated they have seen no evidence thus far after six months of our investigation and 10 months or 11 months of an FBI investigation of any such collusion. I would suggest, what do we think happened at the Mayflower?
Mr. Sessions, are you familiar with what spies call tradecraft?
SESSIONS: A little bit.
COTTON: That involves things like covert communications and dead drops and brush passes, right?
SESSIONS: That is part of it.
COTTON: Do you like spy fiction? Daniel Silva? Jason Matthews?
SESSIONS: Yeah, Alan Furst, David Ignatius.
COTTON: Do you like Jason Bourne or James Bond movies?
SESSIONS: Yes, I do.
COTTON: Have you ever, in any of these fantastical situations, heard of a plot line so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded at an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?
SESSIONS: Thank you for saying that, Sen. Cotton.
It's just like through the looking glass. I mean, what is this? I explained how in good faith I said I had not met with Russians because they were suggesting I, as a surrogate, had been meeting continuously with Russians.
I didn't meet with them, and now the next thing you know, I'm accused of some deception, plotting some sort of influence campaign for the American election. It's just beyond my capability to understand, and I really appreciate, Mr. Chairman, the opportunity to at least to be able to say publicly I didn't participate in that and know knowing about it.
COTTON: And I gather that's one reason why you wanted to testify today in public. Last week Mr. Comey, in characteristic dramatic and theatrical fashion, alluded to innuendo, that there was some kind of classified intelligence that suggested you might have colluded with Russia or that you might have otherwise acted improperly.
You've addressed those allegations here today. Do you understand why he made that allusion?
SESSIONS: Actually, I do not. Nobody's provided me any information.