A S.C. congressman is saying officials in President Donald Trump’s administration, including United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, should “re-evaluate” serving under the president in response to his handling of Russian election interference.
U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, made the comment on Fox News Sunday, telling guest host Bret Baier that Trump has access to “every bit of evidence” needed to convince him of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Gowdy also said Trump has regular access to Haley, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Christopher Wray and national intelligence Director Dan Coats.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” Gowdy said. “The president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to re-evaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration.”
Gowdy was criticizing Trump’s joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, when Trump refused to support U.S. intelligence assessments of Russian election meddling and seemed to give credence to Putin’s denials of Russian involvement.
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Trump later walked back some of his comments, even saying he meant to say “wouldn’t” when, during the news conference, he said he did not “see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered in the election. The White House also has said Trump privately told Putin the United States would not tolerate election interference in the future.
But Gowdy said Trump should have been more forceful with Putin.
“The president missed, I think, a really good opportunity to distinguish the United States from any other country, but especially from Russia,” Gowdy said. “I’m glad he corrected it, but when you’re the leader of the free world, every syllable matters and you really shouldn’t be having to correct it.”
Other Republicans also have been critical of Trump’s performance. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, said last week that Trump’s answers will be seen as a “sign of weakness” by Russia that will “create far more problems than it solves.”
Graham reiterated that criticism Sunday when on “Face the Nation” on CBS, saying of Trump, “If you were really tough with Putin, he would not be doing what he is doing.”