A prominent Republican senator, Marco Rubio has warned about the “cloud” of questions surrounding Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election that is hanging over the White House and pledged to provide the public with answers.
“This cloud is impacting everything else,” the Florida senator told CNN on May 21. “I think the White House would acknowledge that.”
According to CNN, Rubio’s comments add to the chorus of prominent Republicans saying questions about contacts between associates of President Donald Trump and Russians, in addition to the controversy surrounding Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey earlier this month, are impeding the Republican agenda.
Rubio, who sits on the Senate intelligence committee, said he would refrain from taking a “firm position” until the committee finishes its investigation and issues a report.
Last week, a report in The New York Times, confirmed by CNN and other outlets, said Comey kept records of his interactions with Trump, including a memo documenting Trump’s request that the FBI drop an investigation into former national security adviser Mike Flynn.
Asked by anchor Jake Tapper whether Trump’s reported request would constitute obstruction of justice, Rubio responded in general terms.
“If any president tries to impede an investigation – any president, no matter who it is – by interfering with the FBI, yes that would be problematic. Not just problematic, it would be obviously, you know, a potential obstruction of justice that people have to make a decision on – any president,” Rubio said. “That said, we don’t know if that’s what happened here.”
Meanwhile, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said on May 21 that he is looking forward to Comey’s public testimony and put forward a similar line of questioning in an interview on the programme.
“Was he being pressured by the President to drop any part of the investigation?” Schiff said he would like to hear lawmakers ask Comey.