GOP rep: Intelligence community too 'dishonest' to 'accept at face value' on Russia

GOP rep: Intelligence community too 'dishonest' to 'accept at face value' on Russia
© Greg Nash

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) questioned the veracity of assessments by the intelligence community on Russian efforts to influence the election, doubling down on his doubts about whether Russia really was behind hacking.

"When I hear [former CIA head] John Brennan with the venom that seems to be in his voice after Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE was elected president, it's not hard to imagine that in the intelligence community, Donald Trump has his enemies and those enemies are not as restrained as they ought to be," said King on MSNBC Wednesday, following an earlier statement that a classified briefing on Russia had not convinced him. 

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"I don't know how far they would be willing to go. But I've heard too much of this dishonesty coming out of some of the intelligence community to accept this at face value unless I hear some facts."

King was on MSNBC to defend ousted National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who resigned this week due to alleged talk of sanctions with Russia before taking office and misleading Vice President Pence over the nature of those talks. At an earlier interview on CNN, he called Flynn's removal a "political assassination."

King said he believed it should be a priority to prosecute whoever was behind leaking information on Flynn for divulging classified information. 

MSNBC's Katy Tur asked King whether or not it was hypocritical for Trump to laud WikiLeaks during the election — including saying at least once "I love Wikileaks" — but take a hard line against leaks now. King implied that Trump's vocalized support of WikiLeaks, which released a trove of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE's campaign chair, may not have reflected his true opinions on the subject.

"I will say that Donald Trump was playing to the crowd," he said.