A former Obama administration official who earlier this year acknowledged urging her D.C. contacts to leak dirt on President Trump’s team returned to the spotlight Thursday – using an appearance at a security forum to accuse the president of “Kremlin tactics” and openly question whether he owes the Russians money.
Evelyn Farkas, who left the Obama administration in 2015 after serving as a deputy assistant secretary of defense, spoke on a panel Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. She took aim at Trump for past remarks that the United States, like Russia, has killed people too.
“That’s very dangerous,” Farkas said, accusing the president of adopting “Kremlin tactics” with that “language of relativism.”
In February, Bill O’Reilly told Trump during a Fox News Channel interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is a killer.” Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers. Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
On Thursday, Farkas floated a theory, without citing evidence, that the president may actually owe money to Russia, something that could be influencing his posture toward the government.
“The influence these Russians have on him could be greater because of these business ties and because he may owe them money and of course the issue of his campaign manager and all the work he was doing and whether he was indebted to Russians or not,” she said.
During an interview with the New York Times this week, the president denied his company did business with Russia. “My finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company,” he said, according to the transcript. “I don’t do business with Russia.”
Farkas got attention after a March interview on MSNBC when she said there had been a rush from Obama-era government officials to share information before President Trump took office.
“I was urging my former colleagues, and frankly speaking, the people on the Hill … ‘get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration,’ because I had a fear that, somehow, that information would disappear with the senior people who left,” she said.
Farkas added, “That’s why you have the leaking, because people were worried.”
During her appearance at the Aspen Security Forum, Farkas offered criticism of former FBI Director James Comey’s recent prediction that the Russians will again try to meddle in an American election.
“It drives me crazy when former Director Comey says ‘the Russians are coming back,’” Farkas said. “They never left. They’re still here, they still have all that information, they’re in our cyber and in our information sphere.”