Washington’s congressional delegation: Congress must investigate Russia’s influence
Should Congress mount a full investigation into Russian influence on the presidential election and communication that took place between President Donald Trump’s administration and Russian officials? That’s the question The Seattle Times Opinion Page on Thursday asked our congressional delegation.
All 12 said they support an investigation into Russian influence. Additionally, all Democratic representatives are co-sponsoring the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would create a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D):
“This is a serious situation. I have joined my colleagues in calling for an in-depth investigation that must go beyond General Flynn himself, and look into all contact with Russian intelligence officers and government officials. There must be an investigation into what happened during the campaign with Russian interference in our election. It should also look into whether anyone at the White House covered up any ongoing illegal activity.”
Sen. Patty Murray (D):
“The reports on what led Mr. Flynn to resign after just 24 days with this Administration are deeply disturbing and warrant a lot of answers, which is why I support an independent investigation. It is the obligation of every member of Congress to demand answers about what happened, who was involved, and why.”
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn):
“The transparency, security, and fairness of our elections are critical to protecting the sanctity of our democratic process and the will of American voters. Whenever this process is threatened, there must be an investigation into any wrongdoing.”
Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-Medina):
“The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s grip on the Trump administration. With the lack of transparency from this president, Congress must exercise its oversight responsibilities to ensure there isn’t improper influence by foreign entities. These are serious claims that easily merit an investigation, and this should be a bipartisan effort. If there is nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear.”
Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia) spokesman Kati Rutherford:
“As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Heck believes General Flynn should appear before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions about the nature of his contact with Russia. Rep. Heck believes the American people deserve to know more about the nature of those conversations.”
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor):
“Allegations regarding Russian efforts to undermine our democracy and influence our elections should not be taken lightly. For our national security and the integrity of our democracy, this needs to be fully investigated by a bipartisan commission.”
Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Lake Stevens):
“I woke up this morning to learn Michael Flynn, the President’s National Security Adviser, resigned following reports that he discussed American sanctions against Russia with the Russian Ambassador before President Trump assumed office. The American people need to know more information about what President Trump knew and when he knew it. Flynn’s resignation is unprecedented and extremely concerning because his actions could have been criminal and because President Obama put these sanctions in place after the Intelligence Community determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to sway the 2016 U.S. Presidential election in favor of Trump. It is outrageous that Congressional Republicans continue to sit on their hands in the face of what is merely the latest evidence of this administration’s disturbingly cozy relationship with Russia.”
Rep. Pramila Japayal (D) spokesman Omer Farooque:
“Russia’s influence on our election, former Trump adviser Michael Flynn’s close ties to Russia, and reports of Trump campaigns’ repeated contacts with Russia, all of it is deeply distressing. The Congresswoman is incredibly troubled by these reports, and wants an independent investigation into the matter. The American public deserves the truth.”
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Camas) spokeswoman Amy Pennington:
“If the relevant committees determine that an investigation would be a productive means of discovering the facts and not a pointless exercise in political grandstanding she would support it.”
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Sunnyside) spokesman Will Boyington:
“Rep. Newhouse supports the investigative efforts of law enforcement agencies and the appropriate House and Senate committees.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane) spokeswoman Molly Drenkard:
“The Congresswoman supports ongoing efforts by the House and Senate intelligence committees to investigate the matter, and believes these efforts should be conducted in a non-partisan manner and not used to undermine confidence in our electoral system or to question the results of the election.”
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Bellevue), from Feb. 14 release:
“Two months ago, I stated that Lieutenant General Flynn’s judgment was abysmal and he should not be entrusted with policy decisions that affect the safety of the American people. The recent revelations about his dealings with the Russians underscored just how unfit he was for this position and made his resignation imperative.
“But perhaps even more importantly, these events raise grave questions about who in the White House knew about Flynn’s vulnerability to blackmail and exploitation by the Russian government, and when they knew about it. If anyone in the White House knew about Flynn’s vulnerability and chose not to act, they exercised inexcusably poor judgment that put the security of our country at enormous risk.
“What was the advice the White House counsel’s office gave in this matter, and whom did they give it to? Did any of those individuals receive that advice and choose to turn a blind eye to the risks that Flynn’s position posed to the United States? We must have answers to these questions, and we must have a full investigation that covers any and all connections to these events that could undermine the national security of the United States.”