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

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law 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 CoatsOvernight Defense: Pentagon lists construction projects at risk from emergency declaration | Officials deny report on leaving 1,000 troops in Syria | Spy budget request nears B Trump administration requests nearly B for spy budget Dems request probe into spa owner suspected of trying to sell access to 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 TrumpCummings says Ivanka Trump not preserving all official communications Property is a fundamental right that is now being threatened 25 states could see severe flooding in coming weeks, scientists say 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.