Top GOP rep: Trump should be 'straightforward with the American people' about Russian interference

Top GOP rep: Trump should be 'straightforward with the American people' about Russian interference
© Greg Nash

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceFormer GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lawmakers propose banning shark fin trade Bottom Line MORE (R-Calif.) on Sunday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE should be "straightforward with the American people" about Russian interference in U.S. elections. 

"The president should be straightforward with the American people about the threat to our election process, that Russia — Putin in particular — is engaged in," Royce said on CNN's "State of the Union," referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He insisted that Congress is presenting a united front against the Kremlin, despite Trump's rhetoric downplaying the threat of Russian meddling. 

He said he and other lawmakers on his committee are working to "form a consensus of opinion about Russia’s engagement here and a response to it."

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"For years, we have watched Russian interference in trying to undermine our values, using weaponized information against the west, not just here in the United States but across the entirety of Europe," he said. "And as a consequence of those efforts and us not doing enough — not just this administration but the past administration not doing enough — we are in a position now that we have got to show Putin that he’ll have to pay a steep price if he doesn’t stop this now." 

He suggested that Congress needs to be "more aggressive in using other tools we have," suggesting legislation that would go after Russia for using nerve agents in the U.K. 

The Foreign Affairs Committee in recent weeks passed measures to strengthen U.S. cybersecurity and support NATO. 

National security officials last week at a White House press briefing spoke out against the "pervasive" threats to U.S. elections posed by Russian interference.

"Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenCongressional Hispanic Caucus demands answers on death of migrant children Trump expected to tap Cuccinelli for new immigration post Kobach gave list of demands to White House for 'immigration czar' job: report MORE said. 

Trump, however, undercut his national security officials throughout the week by continuing to refer to Russian interference as the "Russia hoax."