Sen. Tom Cotton said Wednesday Russian meddling would be consistent with Moscow's activities in other countries through the years and the investigation into that should continue, but there is no evidence the country colluded with President Donald Trump's campaign team.
"Russia is not our friend," the Arkansas Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.
"They never have been. Hacking into those emails and releasing them is a piece with the kind of deception and subversion efforts they've run for decades as the Soviet Union and as Russia as well."
There should be more concentration on that serious threat, said Cotton, but he did not see that happening during the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.
"We have many more interviews to conduct," said Cotton. "I assume Bob Mueller is doing the same thing. But it's simply a fact that Jim Comey has confirmed that Donald Trump has never been a target of these investigations, and that two senior Democrats on the Intelligence Committee have said we've so far seen no evidence of that kind of collusion between Donald Trump or his senior campaign associates."
Sessions declined testifying about conversations he has had with Trump, and Cotton said that was an option that was "part of the normal give and take of the separation of powers."
"I don't think the only options are you have to spill the beans on anything you've said with the president of the United States, or you have to invoke Executive Privilege, particularly when you're appearing voluntarily as all these witnesses do," said Cotton.
Sessions also flatly refuted claims made by fired FBI Director James Comey that Sessions had met for a third, undisclosed time with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
"David Ignatius would never get a manuscript accepted, he would never become a "New York Times" bestseller if the plot line was a sitting United States senator and a Russian ambassador are colluding in front of hundreds of people at a hotel, including the media, to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage," said Cotton, pointing out Ignatius as a panelist on the show. "Now we've looked at a lot of other aspects of this matter and we're going to continue to look at it and follow the facts where they take us. But that is just a preposterous theory that is being spun out in some of the far corners of the left."
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