‘I Absolutely Disagree With the President,’ Iowa Senator Says After Trump’s Latest Comments on Russia
DES MOINES, Iowa–Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, strongly criticized two Presidents Wednesday–his own and Russia’s–following another confusing day of what President Donald Trump believes when it comes to Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election.
“Russia’s our enemy,” Grassley said, “Putin is a liar.”
Grassley said that this week President Trump “missed a real opportunity” when he failed to denounce Russia’s interference in the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.
Watch Grassley’s full remarks below on the situation.
Confusion has circulated all this week after President Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, Finland on Monday. The aftermath of their meeting comes down to White House claims involving two words: "not" and "no."
On Monday, President Trump criticized his own intelligence community, praised Putin and then drew bipartisan ire. President Trump said of his conversations with Putin, "He just said it’s not Russia (that interfered with the U.S. election). I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be."
Democrats and Republicans immediately followed with some of the harshest rebukes yet directed at President Trump since he has been in office. A day later, the President claimed that he misspoke Monday and simply left out the word, "not."
So Monday's comment, according to the President's claims on Tuesday, should have been, "I don’t see any reason why it would NOT be."
He read from a statement where he said he supported U.S. intelligence that had found that Russia had interfered. The President did not express support for the intelligence community on Monday.
There was more chaos and confusion on Wednesday. It took place after a reporter from ABC asked the President a question.
Grassley talked to reporters after that exchange became national news as it appeared that the President had just contradicted his own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Coats maintained just last week that Russia was still a security threat to the U.S.
But hours after President Trump's comments Wednesday (and Grassley's response to them), White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders claimed that the President was actually saying "no" to whether he would answer the question, not saying "no" as a response to that question.
The ABC reporter who initially asked President Trump about the Russian threat responded on Twitter.