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 RoyceBottom line California was key factor in House GOP's 2020 success Top donor allegedly sold access to key politicians for millions in foreign cash: report MORE (R-Calif.) on Sunday said President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' 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 NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE said. 

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