Congress has not yet been briefed on whether Russia interfered in the presidential election, and it's a "little premature" to come to conclusions that lead to President Barack Obama's sanctions against Russia, Rep. Trent Franks said Thursday, and he finds it hypocritical that Obama is making such accusations.
"What we're hearing is information leaked from the intelligence community, primarily from the Barack Obama administration apparatus," the Arizona Republican, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC Thursday afternoon. "So, to come to these kind of conclusions at this point, I think, is a little premature to say the least."
What's more, Franks said, is that if Russia leaked information about the election without actually becoming involved in the battles, then it was merely doing what the media should have done.
"My staff informs me that none of the relevant intelligence committees have been directly or officially informed on it," Franks said. "Now, perhaps, that's incorrect information. If it is, I'll correct it. But the truth is, and I think your own station sources would admit, that most of what we're talking about now is based on leaks."
And, the Arizona congressman said he's all for doing what is necessary to protect the election, but there is "no suggestion that Russia hacked into the nation's voting systems.
"If anything, whatever they might have done, was to try to use information in a way that may have affected something that they believe was in their best interest," said Franks. "But the bottom line is, if they succeeded, if Russia succeeded in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should have done."
Also, Franks said he has to question why Obama would complain about other countries being involved in the United States election, when he "sent his own campaign team to Israel to defeat [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu in his election."
Obama followed that up with the United Nations Security Council's resolution on Israel, Franks claimed.
"That, I've got to tell you, was an act of overt political cowardness and it disgraced America and it will send Barack Obama's name down the corridor as an overt traitor to the state of Israel," said Franks, "so, I mean, he certainly has a hard time claiming other countries are involved in elections."
Franks pointed out that he's said many times he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a "KGB thug, and any interference in the nation's elections or anything that is outside the interest of America should be met with an appropriate response, and I believe that with all of my heart."
However, he said where Obama is concerned, "I just see the incredible hypocrisy in this attack," and he believes the administration believes that attacking Russia will change the election.
"They're really trying to delegitimize the election itself," said Franks. "That's the main motivation here. And I think it's just unfortunate that this president forgets that most of these emails came from WikiLeaks, who claimed they got them from disgruntled DNC staffers."
As far as Russia's involvement, he continued, "The bottom line is no one knows for sure, and I think we should at least get the facts before we start just going off of leaks that are occurring."
Franks insisted that he is not suggesting not to trust the nation's intelligence community, but he is "convinced at this point that it's too easily twisted."
"Again, for all the reasons I've said that this president has acted so hypocritically in this situation it's unbelievable," the Arizona congressman said. "I think his main motivation is to delegitimize this election. The people were aware of this debate before the election and they took that into consideration, I'm convinced."
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