Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said Monday that he believes that the Russian government may have "something close" to the long-rumored video of President Donald Trump engaging in a sexual act with two prostitutes. When asked if footage of the alleged act exists on BuzzFeed's "AM to DM," Merkley responded that it is possible.
"Something close to that. Something close to that," Merkley said with a smirk. A dossier financed by Trump's opponents before the election and written by former British spy Christopher Steele asserted that such a video exists, although there is no known evidence that it does Trump has also denied the existence of such a video.
If a blackmail tape of the specific sexual encounter does not exist, Merkley believes that the Russian government may still have some form of compromising content or information involving the president.
"I think it's likely," Merkley responded when asked if Russian President Vladimir Putin has anything on Trump.
"It's the standard strategy of Russia when people visit there who are important, to try to get compromising information on them, to set them up with hookers, to tape everything that goes on in their room. So it's likely that they have that," he said.
.@BuzzFeedBen: "Do you think Vladimir Putin has anything on him?"@SenJeffMerkley: "I think it's likely."— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) July 16, 2018
Smith: "Your view is that the pee tape is real?"
Merkley: "Something close to that. Something close to that."
From @AM2DM: pic.twitter.com/KX0LjRy04s
Trump and Putin held a joint press conference as part of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday. In the last question of the media event, the Associated Press asked Putin point-blank if he has compromising material on the president.
"When President Trump visited Moscow back then I didn't even know that he was in Moscow," Putin said. "I treat President Trump with utmost respect. But back then, when he was a private individual, a businessman, nobody informed me that he was in Moscow."
Trump took the opportunity to respond as well.
"And I have to say if they had it, it would have been out long ago and if anybody watched Peter Strzok testify over the last couple of days and I was in Brussels watching it, it was a disgrace to the FBI, it was a disgrace to our country. And you would say that was a total witch hunt. Thank you very much everybody. Thank you," Trump said, ending the press event.