It’s clear Donald Trump is a huge fan of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But whistleblower Edward Snowden says Americans shouldn’t get their hopes up that special counsel Robert Mueller is going to nail the U.S. president for colluding with the Kremlin.
“There’s no one in this world that [Trump] loves more than the Russian president,” said Snowden, who exposed eavesdropping by the National Security Agency five years ago and now lives in exile in Russia, a fugitive from U.S. espionage charges.
“I think people are asking for too much when they hope that the Mueller investigation is going to come up with a smoking gun against Trump ― yes, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump in the hotel room with the piss tape,” Snowden quipped in Friday’s episode of the “Deconstructed” podcast at The Intercept. “That’s not how the world works. Life is not that simple.”
Snowden, speaking from Moscow, said he also doesn’t believe Trump is the kind of crack double operator Putin would rely on.
“To be honest, everyone who has heard Trump speak for three minutes knows he’s a wrecking ball,” he said. “This does not sound like the kind of person that you would want to engage in some kind of complicated ‘Manchurian Candidate’” spy operation, when “the guy can’t even remember what he’s going to say at the end of a sentence.”
“That doesn’t mean that he didn’t want to cooperate,” Snowden added. “That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t do anything to achieve an advantage.”
Snowden encouraged people — including would-be leakers in the U.S. government — to continue to struggle for change.
“I believe that this world can be better. I believe that this world should be better. But it’s not going to get better unless we make it better,” he said. “And that requires risk. That requires hard work. That ultimately might require sacrifice.”
“Things change,” he went on. “If they can change for the worse, they can change for the better. If more good people are organizing... if we’re willing to draw lines that we will not allow people to cross without moving us out of the way, the pendulum will swing.”
Check out the entire podcast here.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated Snowden faces treason charges in the U.S. In fact, he has been charged with espionage.