Wednesday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo he was “concerned” that President Donald Trump didn’t understand the “ongoing threat” to America’s elections from Russia.
Booker said, “It is important what presidents say, and you and I come from that school, I imagine, where you have Ronald Reagan’s clear, unwavering commitment to standing strong against the Soviet Union. You see it in the next George Bush. You have seen it in presidents. So here’s a clear statement of fact that the president tweeted out—”I’m concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming election, which is consistent with intelligence communities, that they are continuing to attack.’ He said, ‘based on the fact that no other president is tougher on Russia than me. They will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump. They don’t want Trump.’ Now, that obviously was surprising to see given that we just heard from Vladimir Putin he prefers Trump. But I’m concerned that the president doesn’t understand that this ongoing threat is happening. When he came out of his secret meeting with Putin that was shrouded in secrecy, he said our relationship has never been worse until now, because that’s changed as of about four hours ago. Has anything changed in the Russians’ attacks or ongoing threats to the 2018 elections?”
Pompeo said, “Senator, what I believe the president was referring to there, obviously he speaks for himself in that sense, but what I understood him to say was that he’d had, for the first time in his administration, he’d had a chance for an extensive, candid conversation with the leader of Russia, layout and articulate America’s interests to him so that he understood unambiguously what those interests were and to in turn hear from Vladimir Putin what matters most to Russia. When I heard him say things have changed, I think that’s what he was referring to. It was the first time they had met before.”
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