Sen. King Says Russia Tried Election Interference; Only Question Is If Trump Campaign Played Role

May 23, 2017

FILE: Senate Armed Services Senate Committee member Sen. Angus King, I-Maine questions Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017.
Credit AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Maine Independent Sen. Angus King said today that there is absolutely no doubt that the Russian government attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told an AARP audience at the Bangor Public Library that Congress must take a bipartisan approach to determine what role — if any — the Trump campaign had in the Russian effort to influence the election’s outcome.

“Whatever conclusion we reach, if we reach a conclusion that there was no connection between the Trump campaign and the Russians or that there was — it has to be believable by the majority of Americans — it can’t be viewed as a witch hunt or a whitewash and that’s why it’s so important, I think, to have it be both parties,” King says.

“They also tried to get into state election systems voter registration rolls — they weren’t successful, as near as we can tell, they didn’t mess up any votes,” he says. “But imagine for a minute if they had changed 100,000 votes in Wisconsin. We would have had a constitutional crisis.”

King said because voting machines that are connected to the Internet can be compromised, he was extremely concerned over the Russian probes of state election systems.

President Trump has maintained that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia and has denied ever asking FBI Director James Comey to scale back an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

This story was originally published on May 22, 2017 at 5:43 p.m.