Dem lawmaker wants to know why Trump ‘puts this halo around Putin in the face of unbelievable violence’
A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee wants to know why President Donald Trump — who isn’t shy about attacking anyone — has nothing but praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) appeared Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss a congressional hearing on alleged Russian interference in the presidential election, including possible connections between Trump advisers and the Kremlin.
“Here’s a guy who will attack everybody — the cast of ‘Hamilton’ to the intelligence community to Sen. (Chuck) Schumer — and yet in the face of unbelievable violence and bad behavior, he puts this halo around Vladimir Putin. Why?” Himes said.
He hopes Comey will finally “put a stake in that particular vampire’s heart” and dispel Trump’s baseless claim that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign.
“If this is made up out of whole cloth and nothing is there, of course, he should (apologize),” Himes said. “He won’t do that. The one thing we know about Donald Trump is he never has a regret, he never apologizes.”
Himes said his committee had found no evidence to back the president’s claims, but he suggested one of Trump’s associates might have been under investigation during the campaign — and it’s possible that such a probe might still be underway.
“Let’s imagine that there was something there and it’s not a wiretap ordered on Trump Tower,” Himes said. “Maybe it’s one of his people — maybe it’s (Paul) Manafort or (Roger) Stone that had some sort of investigation around them. Now, if that is true, that may not come out (Monday), of course, because it might be an ongoing investigation. Then, too, the American people have a right to know. That’s what my committee is investigating. Were there connections? Was there knowledge of what the Russians were doing by any of Trump’s people?”
Himes said it’s possible that Trump’s advisers were aware of Russian efforts to interfere with the election but did not actively work with the Kremlin.
“Remember, it’s not just collusion,” he said. “If you actually had Trump people working with the Russians, that would be a historical scandal. It could simply be knowledge. What if somebody like Roger Stone or Paul Manafort or any of the characters here who had these bizarre meetings with Russia, and most of them dissembled whether they had those meetings. What if they simply knew?”