Former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn lost the trust of both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and it was important for Trump to call for his resignation and to accept it once it was offered, Sen. John Barrasso said Tuesday.
However, the senator does not think the matter will end now that Flynn has left office.
That includes a probe into whether Trump was involved with Flynn's contact with a Russian ambassador, the Wyoming Republican told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle, after she asked if he thought there should be an investigation into that angle.
"I understand the FBI and Department of Justice are looking into that," Barrasso said. "I would expect members of Congress, and the House and Senate will look into it as well, because we need to focus on the nation's security. When I think of that, I want to make sure our country is safe, it's strong, and it is secure."
Barrasso pointed out he was not "privy to" White House discussions and conversations, but when it comes to Russia, he does not trust President Vladimir Putin "at all."
"He does not have our interests at heart," Barrasso said. "His values are different than ours. And there are a lot of reasons to not trust Vladimir Putin, whether it's Crimea, Ukraine, the involved in the U.S. elections, cyber attacks, his relationship with Iran. We have to be very, very cautious with dealing with him. He cannot be trusted."
Trump has referred to Putin as a good leader, but Barrasso said he can only speak for himself, and he did sign a letter to Trump concerning Russia and the use of lethal weapons.
"On this I'm very solid, secure, and I need to make sure the country is safe, secure, and strong," said Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
He does, however, disagree with a statement from Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, who commented earlier in the morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program it was never taken seriously that Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election.
"That was a 9/11 scale event," Friedman said. "They attacked the core of our democracy. That was a Pearl Harbor scale event."
"I think that overstates it," Barrasso said. "I think [former] President [Barack] Obama's response was too little too late . . . We did not have a timely response. We did not have a forceful response."
A forceful response was needed to "deter addition action in the future," the senator said, but that did not happen, even though Obama did enact sanctions.
"I am supportive of sanctions, but I would like to go further," Barrasso said. "If you really want to deter actions, what you do, you have capacity in the United States. You have to have a commitment to use that capacity, and you have to communicate that capacity. I think Donald Trump is going to communicate our commitment and capacity to stand up around the world."
There are continued efforts to prevent further cyber attacks not only from Russia, but from China, North Korea and more, he said.
"The world continues to be a very dangerous place," Barrasso said. "National security needs to be our No. 1 concern."
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