All four members of Maine’s congressional delegation are criticizing President Donald Trump for downplaying Russia's interference in the 2016 election.
Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Putin denied any meddling, Trump said he sees no reason why Russia would have interfered.
Independent Sen. Angus King serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee and says President Trump’s comments were astounding, and they ignored the findings of his own intelligence agencies.
“The President can’t seem to separate collusion, which is whether his campaign cooperated, and what they did,” says King. “What they did was a direct attack on our democracy.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who also serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was not available for an interview, but in a statement she criticizes Trump for his continued refusal to accept the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies which state that the Russians did try to meddle in the 2016 elections and are continuing to try and influence upcoming elections. She calls the president’s position “untenable.”
First District Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the summit was “shameful,” with Trump downplaying Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections just days after a dozen Russian intelligence agents were indicted for those attempts. Pingree says the president’s comments undercut the intelligence agencies, which he says he supports.
“There is general agreement in our intelligence community, really on both sides of the aisle, that there was major Russian interference with our elections, and he kind of shrugs it like well, Putin doesn’t think that really happens,” says Pingree. “It just boggles the mind.”
Republican Second District Rep. Bruce Poliquin was also critical. He says that while it is important to improve relations with Russia on several issues, including Syria, the president must realize that Russia did try to interfere in the elections, and that steps should be taken to block those attempts in the future.