In Putin Meeting Trump Reportedly Moves on Quickly from 2016 Russian Election Attack

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  • David Vance
Statement of Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause President

It is troubling President Trump appears more comfortable talking to President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors than to the American people about the well-documented intrusion by Russia into US elections in 2016. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson noted that the Russians asked for proof that they interfered with our elections, and Tillerson said he’d leave the issue of proof to the intelligence community to resolve. That the leaders of our nation appear willing to let Russia slide on this issue and take their word over that of the American intelligence community underscores the need for the independent investigation and an independent commission that Congress should move to create immediately.

Congress should ask Sec. Tillerson to testify under oath about these meetings immediately upon return from the G-20.

President Trump has fired campaign staff, his selection for National Security Adviser, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, and FBI Director James Comey, all of whom have some tie to Russia or the investigation into possible obstruction of justice by the president or collusion by the Trump campaign. Trump and others in his administration have hired private attorneys to protect themselves from the ongoing independent investigation.

The accounts of the Trump-Putin meeting indicate that the subject of Russian election interference was not properly pursued  at a time when Present Trump and others in the Administration have hired lawyers specifically to represent on the matter as well as possible collusion and obstruction of justice related to the investigation.

Far from reassuring the American people by confronting Putin with this issue, Trump’s action today and the comments by Tillerson about the meeting are all the more reason why we must have an independent commission or special committee, properly resourced. After a major attack like this, the nation needs a full public accounting of what happened in the 2016 election, who is responsible, how we are holding them accountable, and what we are doing to protect our elections moving forward.

President Trump needs to deal with the FBI investigation, Congress, and the American people before he moves on and makes deals about cyber-security with Putin. To achieve that, the President must allow Robert Mueller’s investigation to proceed unimpeded and an independent commission must be named to assure the full truth is revealed to the American people.