Angus King: Russia's election interference one of most serious attacks on US since 9/11

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingDrama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry Warner, Burr split on committee findings on collusion Overnight Defense: Top general wasn't consulted on Syria withdrawal | Senate passes bill breaking with Trump on Syria | What to watch for in State of the Union | US, South Korea reach deal on troop costs MORE (I-Maine) said Wednesday that Russia’s effort to interfere in the U.S. election is “one of the most serious attacks” on the nation since Sept. 11, 2001. 

“This is a serious threat,” King told CNN’s “New Day.” “It’s one of the most serious attacks on our country since Sept. 11.”

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The remark from King comes after Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsEx-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump MORE testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that he has “no doubt” Russia views the upcoming midterm elections as a possible target of "influence operations."

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats told the committee.

King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the attacks on U.S. democracy will continue.

“But we’re talking about a major attack on our democracy that’s ongoing, that’s going to continue,” he said. “And this is a place where you need presidential leadership.”

King implored President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE to combat the Russian threat, suggesting interim reports between government agencies.

King said he "understand[s] the president's reluctance" on the issue because "it affects his election."

"I'm not berating the president, I'm urging the president because I think he could separate these two issues," he said.