President Donald Trump, if called to testify before the Senate, would give similar answers as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.
"I think what you'd see is what we saw yesterday with Attorney General Sessions. 'I'm not going to answer that question, I have some policy reason that I . . .I'll claim executive privilege.' And then to a sort of practical basis, with five-minute rounds, there's no opportunity to develop, I think, a series of questions," Reed said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Reed said Trump should instead testify before special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who would have "legal authority to compel testimony."
The senator criticized the president for his claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election is "just a hoax."
"The president constantly tries to denigrate it, said it was just a hoax, a witch hunt, et cetera. It's probably the most significant threat that we face to our basic democracy. That was what Mr. Comey said. That's what every intelligence officer said," Reed noted in the interview.
"The president seems to be in a position of rejecting facts for reasons that are hard to define. There's no counter argument by him," the senator said. "Yesterday when Sessions was asked, has he ever had a real, serious meeting on the issue, and he said no. It's the most fundamental threat to the United States, yet the president is not only ignoring it, he's playing it down as some type of political hijinks."
Legislators must help the states combat potential election tampering, Reed said, and that starts with the president.
"We're going to have to take steps, for example, think seriously about at least federal elections having an alternate paper ballot available in case there is electronic disruption . . . we're going to have to help the states. We're going to have to provide coordination. That's going to require some legislation," Reed said.
"What we're looking for is the executive branch to take a leadership position on this, starting with the president going to the American people, instead of sort of jokingly dismissing this," the Rhode Island Democrat added.
Reed has previously called for Trump to give statements to Mueller, not Congress. "Mueller is charged to conduct this investigation, and I believe he's the appropriate person to conduct this investigation," Reed said Sunday.
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