GOP senator slams 'lack of leadership' coming from Trump
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Ryan: Graham-Cassidy 'best, last chance' to repeal ObamaCare Collins skeptical of new ObamaCare repeal effort MORE (R-Maine) said Thursday that a "lack of leadership" and "appearance of just total chaos" from the White House is interfering with top Republican priorities on Capitol Hill. 

"It makes it extremely difficult because, first of all, we don't have an administration giving guidance on what they would like to see — other than very sketchy outlines. You don't have the president using his bully pulpit. And there's a sense of drift and distraction," Collins told MSNBC.

The GOP senator added that the recent string of controversies regarding President Trump and his team is "unprecedented, and it gives the appearance of just total chaos. And that interferes with the ability to work on really important issues like healthcare." 

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The White House has been submerged in back-to-back political headaches since Trump made the surprise decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

Collins was a congressional intern in 1974, the year then-President Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal. 

Asked about the difference between then and the currently embattled White House, Collins added that "it seemed like [then] we were still proceeding with the business of the country."  

"Here it feels like everything is up in the air, everything is chaotic. And there's a lack of leadership coming from the White House. That's what seems different. People forget that Richard Nixon, for example, created the EPA," she added. 

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Wednesday night that he was appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation, which also includes any potential ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

The announcement came after Trump hinted last week that there could be tapes of his conversations with Comey. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Trump asked Comey to quash the investigation into former national security advisor Mike Flynn.

Trump also allegedly shared classified information with top Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week. The White House pushed back against that allegation, though Trump appeared to defend himself on Twitter saying he had an "absolute right" to discuss facts.