GOP Sen. John Kennedy (La.) said today that he’s “not really interested in all the subplots” of the Russia investigation but just wants to let special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation play out to its conclusion.
Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNN that he believes “the evidence will bear this out, that a number of countries, one which of we know, Russia, tried to influence our election.”
“Now, you can debate whether they did or didn’t, but — actually have influence, but they did try to influence the election,” he added. “I want to know what happened. I want to let Mr. Mueller finish his investigation, gather the facts, report to the American people, and then I trust American people to figure it out and make up their mind. I also want to talk about how we can stop it from happening again.”
“No disrespect, but Mr. Putin is a thug. He’ll push you right through the wall if you let him; trying to reason with him is like trying to hand-feed a shark. And we’re just going to have to hit him right in the face with sanctions.”
Kennedy was pressed on the potential obstruction of justice implications of a report that President Trump’s former lawyer John Dowd last year floated the possibility of pardoning former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with Mueller’s team, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who faces a hefty indictment charging money laundering and other crimes.
“We get dips and dabs here and pieces of this and rumors of that. And the truth is, none of us know. That’s what we have Mr. Mueller working on. And the sooner he gets the facts, let’s the chips fall where they may, reports to the American people. Congress can then decide what if anything we need to do,” Kennedy said.
“But more importantly, the American people will understand and they’ll figure this out,” he added. “They may not — you heard me say this before, but the American people may not read Aristotle every day, but they’re smart. They will figure this out.”
Kennedy said he wasn’t sure if congressional effort to protect Mueller would be constitutional, but “I don’t think Trump’s going to fire Mueller.”
“We get little bits and pieces and you have to be very careful about drawing conclusions. That’s why God made special counsels. It’s to come in and let’s get the facts in an objective, dispassionate way. I believe Mueller is doing that. And then report to the American people and let the chips fall where they may,” he said.
Kennedy said that when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears before the Judiciary Committee next month he’s going to ask the social media boss if Facebook has taken steps to curtail fake news.
“While we’re on the subject, what’s fake news?” the senator added. “A couple years ago, the Kremlin through a hedge fund actually owned 8 percent of the stock of Facebook. What was that all about?”