McConnell: Russians are not our friends

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response Senator Tom Coburn's government oversight legacy Schumer praises choice of Defense inspector general to oversee corporate lending fund 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 TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House 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 CoatsWe weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Experts report recent increase in Chinese group's cyberattacks 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 (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE has now presented is well taken," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers already planning more coronavirus stimulus after T package Cuban says he'd spank daughter if she was partying during coronavirus pandemic Twitter comes under fire over Chinese disinformation on coronavirus 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.