Ex-adviser Kingston ‘not troubled’ as Trump sides with Putin and calls intelligence officials ‘political hacks’
A CNN discussion on President Donald Trump’s defense of Vladimir Putin’s claim he had nothing to do with meddling in the 2016 election turned combative Saturday morning with a former Trump adviser said he isn’t “troubled by it.”
Appearing with CNN host Victor Blackwell and Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, former Congressman Jack Kingston (R) dismissed the U.S. intelligence community that has evidence of Russian interference after Rogin lambasted Trump.
“I would say like I’m really troubled by this, but I’m not surprised,” Rogin began. “This is what President Trump has been saying all along, that he basically believes Putin when Putin says ‘I didn’t do it,’ and Trump says, ‘okay, that’s good enough for me, case closed.'”
“Luckily for America and our democracy, there are lots of other people in Washington and around the world who don’t believe Putin when he says I didn’t do it, and are looking into it,” Rogin continued. “The Mueller investigation. We’re talking about the Senate. We’re talking about the House. We’re talking about our intelligence agencies. we’re talking about lots and lots of think tanks and academics all over the world who believe the Russians interfered. and believe they’re still doing it in 2018 and 2020. And to just throw our hands up and say ‘well I asked him and he said he didn’t do it what are we going to do?’ is simply not acceptable.”
Rogin then added, Trump is “more worried about Putin’s hurt feelings than he is about the attack that the Russians did on our democracy.”
Given a chance to respond, Kingston fired back while also defending Trump calling former U.S. intelligence officials “political hacks.”
“I think number one, people like Clapper and Comey have proven themselves to be very political, at least not removed from the politics,” Kingston began. “But I also want to say, I’ll agree with Josh, this doesn’t surprise me. But I also would say it doesn’t trouble me. Because I think it’s almost a perfunctory statement because the minute he meets with Putin, that’s going to be the question certainly by the press. so, he needs to just kind of get that out of the way.”
Kingston went on to pivot away from Trump undercutting the intelligence community, saying the president needs to focus on defeating ISIS and that “building on his relationship with Putin” is a “positive step,” leading to a frantic back and forth with Rogin.
Watch the video below via CNN: