WASHINGTON - Is President Donald Trump being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin? Two Democratic lawmakers are demanding Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to testify publicly to help settle the question once and for all.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., sent a letter to Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, saying it is not only Democrats who are concerned about Trump being manipulated by Putin, but they cite statements from three Republicans as well.
.@GerryConnolly @RepCummings Demand Hearing With Director of National Intelligence After Republicans Allege President Trump Is Being Manipulated By Putin. @OversightDemshttps://t.co/qyChAH2Bvk pic.twitter.com/nfFFGeyTl7— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) July 24, 2018
However, the request was dismissed by GOP members.
House GOP voted to block our subpoena request to have DNI Coats come before our committee. Just last wk the Chairman and others said we must provide oversight on Russian interference. Do they now have amnesia about their own comments and OpEds?https://t.co/e8qN612bzx— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) July 24, 2018
Connelly told FOX 5 it is not enough for Republicans to voice concerns, but they need to take action as well.
“It was simply asking or demanding that the Director of National Intelligence come before our committee, the Oversight Committee, and talk about this subject in public,” said Connolly. “To reassure the public or identify areas where we should be concerned, and obviously classified material would not be included. And they don't even want to go even that far. Think about how many hearings this Congress had about Benghazi, which by the way there was no basis at all.”
Trump was in Kansas City for a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday. The president did not shy away from the diplomatic controversies, saying that while he continues to talk peace with American adversaries, he is prepared for war as well.
"The best way to preserve the peace is to be prepared for and that is exactly what we do all the time,” Trump said. “My thinking is always on the military and military strength.”
After days of complaints that he has not been tougher on Russia, Trump also switched gears again by tweeting he is "very concerned" that Russia will look to impact the 2018 midterm elections. However, Putin said last week that he wanted Trump to win in 2016.
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018