McConnell: Russians are not our friends

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Overnight Health Care: Azar defends approach on drug rebates | Trump presses Senate to act quickly on opioid crisis | Kentucky governor's Medicaid lawsuit tossed Dem senator introduces proposal to rein in Trump on security clearances MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday said that Russia is not a friend of the U.S. and that he supports the intelligence community’s finding that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.

“I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community,” McConnell told reporters.

McConnell’s comments come hours after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE sparked immediate backlash following a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he refused to condemn Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. 

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“He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told reporters, echoing Putin's denials. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

He also said the United States was partly to blame for the current low point in U.S.-Moscow relations.

McConnell, who routinely does not speak to reporters in hallways around the Capitol, did not respond to questions about if he would repeat his comments to the president, if he was disappointed in Trump’s comments or if he thought, as some have suggested, that Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsCNN: Trump intel chief not consulted before decision to revoke Brennan's clearance Study: 3 of every 10 House candidate websites vulnerable to hacks West Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas MORE should resign.

Several GOP senators have publicly pushed back against Trump’s rhetoric.

"President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos," Burr said in a statement. 

He added that any statement that Putin makes that contradicts "these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President."

The Senate's No. 2 Republican also said he believed U.S. intelligence officials.

"I don't believe Mr. Putin and I believe our intelligence officials who produced the intelligence community assessment and I believe the indictment that Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has now presented is well taken," said Sen. John CornynJohn Cornyn15 senators miss votes despite McConnell's criticism of absentees Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (R-Texas). 

"I think members of Congress believe as I do that Russia did attempt to meddle in the election. That they were unsuccessful in changing the outcome. ... I think [the president] is conflating two different things: The meddling and the collusion allegations, for which there does not appear to be any evidence."

Cornyn added that he thought the 12 Russians indicted last week by special counsel Robert Mueller should be extradited to the U.S., but acknowledged that would be “wishful thinking.”

Updated at 4:18 p.m.