GOP senator: Miscalculations with Russia 'could lead us to a very bad place'

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing GOP senators frustrated with Romney jabs at Trump MORE (R-Tenn.) warned on Sunday that a military miscalculation amid simmering tensions between the U.S. and Russia could lead the country to "a very bad place."

In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Corker acknowledged that U.S.-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but said that Washington is not yet preparing for a military confrontation with Moscow.

"It’s not that we’re preparing," said Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "It’s that we should be aware that miscalculations could lead us to a very bad place."

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He said that the threat of a possible misstep is why Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Amazon to challenge Pentagon's 'war cloud' decision in federal court Former Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy MORE had urged caution ahead of a U.S.-led strike in Syria, one of Moscow's closest allies.

Tensions between Russia and the West have deteriorated sharply in recent years, particularly after the U.S. intelligence community released an assessment in 2017 that Moscow sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election. 

But those tensions worsened after the British government blamed Moscow for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in southern England last month. The Kremlin has denied that allegation.

The U.S., France and the U.K. also carried out "precision strikes" on targets in Syria associated with the country's chemical weapons arsenal last week, further angering Russia. 

The allied strikes in Syria came in response to a suspected chemical weapons strike in a suburb of Damascus allegedly carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Still, President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE has taken some criticism over his apparent friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Last week, he told the press, "Russia will tell you, there has been nobody tougher than Donald Trump."

"If we can get along with China, and if we can get along with Russia, and if we can get along with Japan and other nations that's a good thing, not a bad thing," he added, speaking at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "Just remember that. If we got along with other nations, that's good, not bad."