From the July 27 edition of Bloomberg's With All Due Respect:
MARK HALPERIN: John, I think there is a lot of fault on both sides here. Who has the upper hand politically in this cold war or words?
JOHN HEILMANN: Oh, the Democrats have the upper hand it seems to me, at this point. They on offense and Trump is making dumb mistakes. There is no reason for Trump to be -- I mean, you could parse it the way that Jason Miller parsed it, but to the world, the notion that Trump is saying, “listen up, Russia, it'd be a great thing in some way, if you come up with these Clinton e-mails, you'd be rewarded.” I just -- there is no upside for Donald Trump to give ammunition to the Democrats in this moment.
HALPERIN: Trump made a huge mistake, because he should be condemning Russia in no uncertain terms.
HEILMANN: Of course.
HALPERIN: They have walked it back. On the other hand, and again I think what Trump said was ridiculous and the failure to condemn -- but the president of the United States is engaged in pure politics for political favors. Democrats have been for the past two days suggesting that Trump's position on Putin, or his position on NATO, suggests that we need to look into some connection between the leaking of these e-mails and the Trump campaign. There is no evidence of it, and the president of the United States shouldn't be doing that.
JOHN HEILMANN: There is no evidence of collusion, but it is the case --
HALPERIN: But that's what he's trying to suggest, just as the Clinton campaign has.
HEILMANN: But it is the case. I think what he said was very careful. He said, basically it seems like Donald Trump has praised Putin publicly on multiple occasions --
HALPERIN: What does that have to do?
HEILMANN: It has to do with what Putin's motives would be to meddle in an American election.
HALPERIN: Right, but they're not talking about Putin's motives. The Democrats are trying to suggest there is some collusion. They are, that's what they are doing. And it's hardball politics, but if our job is to hold both sides accountable, I've got to say both sides have dirty hands on this.
HEILMANN: There is -- I have not heard anybody suggest collusion. All I've heard --
HALPERIN: That is why they are bring it up.
HEILMANN: All I've heard -- they are certainly insinuating the case. The Russians seem to be trying to put their hand on the scale in an American election. Vladimir Putin likes Donald Trump, Donald Trump praises Putin.
HALPERIN: Sure, a Trump should be condemning it, but I'm telling you the White House is trying to distract from the DNC emails -- both their lack of security and the content of the emails -- by creating the notion that we should be looking into whether Trump and [Paul] Manafort somehow colluded with the Russians. That is what they are doing.
HEILMANN: They are doing it, and it would be very easy to shut down. Do you know what Donald Trump would need to say, is condemn Putin in the strongest possible terms.
HALPERIN: And he should, and he made both a political and substantive mistake by not doing it. Both sides are behaving badly