Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump's, but that doesn't mean he thinks he should be impeached.
"I'm not one of those who run around calling for our president to be impeached," the Arizona senator, who announced last year he would not seek reelection, told CNBC's John Harwood in an extensive interview, posted Friday through CNBC's website.
"He's done nothing in my view that would warrant that."
However, Flake does believe that sometimes Trump exhibits behavior and has adopted policies that are not good for national security.
The senator also said he does believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, to benefit "one of the candidates."
"I'm not saying that that was dispositive, that's what made the difference," he said. "But that did occur. And what troubles me greatly is, I'm not aware of any Cabinet-level kind of meeting, or any high-level attempt to get a handle on this, and to figure out how we're going to respond."
However, he does not think that Trump himself is "compromised" or that his campaign colluded with Russia.
"I don't think that the campaign colluded in some meaningful way," said Flake. "I don't think that they were organized enough, or competent enough as a campaign to do that."
It's troubling, though, that the White House "won't accept that that kind of intervention was happening" and that it won't look to fight it, said Flake, but he believes that is more coming from
Trump trying to protect his status as someone who won the election, not because he feels beholden or that Russia has compromising information on him.
Meanwhile, Flake said that even though he has disapproved of many of Trump's actions or his behavior, that doesn't mean he feels he should vote against everything the president supports, as that is "not my job."
When Flake announced his retirement, though, he told his colleagues, in a speech, that the president exhibited behavior that was "dangerous to a democracy."
Further, last month, Flake gave a second scathing speech on the Senate floor denouncing Trump, comparing his words to those used by Russian dictator Josef Stalin, but later told CNN that he wasn't comparing the president to Stalin at all.
He also defended to Harwood his reputation as a conservative, saying that being one is not just about believing in limited government and economic freedom, but "being conservative in comportment and demeanor."
"Those are character traits, I guess, to be temperate and measured," he said. "But that's important for our allies, for trade partners, to know that we're going to be there, we're going to be reliable. And for our adversaries to know where we are. Instead we seem a little unreliable, or a lot unreliable."
Further, he said, Trump uses language "that really is not becoming of the United States president, calling the press the enemy of the people, to see his term "fake news" used by authoritarians everywhere to justify cracking down on dissent. Those character traits that are conservative, that are absent now, I think, put us in danger."
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