Russian meddling into the 2016 presidential election is "the most serious attack in the United States since Sept. 11," but Attorney General Jeff Sessions "doesn't seem very interested in it," Sen. Angus King claimed Thursday, while discussing Senate Intelligence Committee testimony heard earlier this week.
"I asked him, 'did you ever get a briefing on what the Russians did? Did you seek a briefing? Did you ask about?'" the Maine independent lawmaker told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"And he said, 'No, I only know what I'd read in the papers.'"
In comparison, King said, fired FBI Director James Comey, while testifying before the same committee the week before had said he had "nine conversations" with President Donald Trump about the issue.
"[Sessions] never asked about what's your evidence, how do you know what happened, how did they do it, how do we prevent it," said King. "I find that pretty disturbing… [it's] something that's really very serious and is going to be serious in the coming years."
King said he also found it inappropriate that Sessions refused answers on several questions, and believes he was given executive privilege, even if he denies it.
"That's essentially what was going on and I think was inappropriate," said King.
"You either have to have a legal basis, or as I said, the premise is the whole truth. That means everything you know. And if you aren't going to tell everything you know, then what's the excuse? What's the privilege?"
King said that with executive privilege situations, there is usually "some kind of negotiation" about what answers are being sought.
"There can be lawsuits and contempt of Congress," he said. "Those are rarely used. I'm hoping that we're going to be able to get the answers to our questions.
"I was frustrated because when you say I'm going to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the basic premise is you're going to tell everything you know. And if you aren't, there has to be some legal basis for that."
King said he does understand why Trump and his administration are "being defensive" about the intelligence community's conclusion that the Russians likely interfered with the election and tried to help Trump win, even though evidence of cooperation or collusion has not officially been determined.
"The underlying question of what they did, everybody in this place should be concerned about, whatever their party is," said King.
"As various members of the Republican side in our committee keep pointing out, Putin is not a Republican. This could be turned around in two years, or in four years.
"And the president should have obviously some concerns about what involvement his campaign had, but he ought to be concerned about what the Russians did and the danger to our democracy. They're going into state election systems. I mean this is scary stuff."
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