Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal called President Donald Trump’s decision to ignore US intelligence that Russia meddled in the 2016 US elections “a rejection of reality.”
Speaking on CNN’s “New Day” Friday, the Connecticut senator chastised the President for opting to ignore the topic of election meddling during a call he held with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Putin had held a marathon news conference where he called US claims of election tampering nothing but “spy hysteria.”
A readout of the call between the two leaders released by the White House said instead the two discussed topics including North Korea and US economics.
“I welcome the President of the United States having amicable relations with Russia and cooperation with Russia when it comes to North Korea or Syria,” Blumenthal said. “But the President has resisted the objective reality that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.”
Blumenthal said the resistance could mean dangerous outcomes for US national security.
“He’s firmly rejected any suggestion that Russia attacked our Democracy, which plainly it did. All of the intelligence agencies have reached unanimity in that conclusion and it impairs our ability to resist and stop this kind of meddling and interference in the future,” he said. “It’s a real national security threat. Russia will repeat it unless they are made to pay a price.”
Responding to news reported by The Washington Post on Thursday that Trump’s daily intelligence oral briefing is tailored to leave out Russia related news that may upset him, Blumenthal had even harsher words.
“The President needs and deserves to face objective reality which is Russia is a threat to our Democracy. Putin is, forgive me, a KGB thug,” he said. “This kind of rejection of reality has reverberations across the government and is indeed a threat to our national security.”