Political News

In rebuke to Trump, senators may vote to side with US intel community

Posted July 16, 2018 6:55 p.m. EDT

— Talks have begun on Capitol Hill to reaffirm support in the Senate for the intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the US elections, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN on Monday evening.

The discussions have only just begun, but GOP lawmakers are discussing putting together a measure that would clearly state support for the unanimous conclusion within the intelligence community that Russia was behind the 2016 attacks on the US elections.

"There's some discussion about what we might be able to do to let the community know we are supportive of them and their efforts -- and not be confused by any of this," Cornyn, who's the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said in an interview after President Donald Trump threw cold water on the intelligence community's 2017 assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had directed a campaign to attack the US elections with the goal of electing Trump.

If the plan comes together, it could amount to the third symbolic rebuke of Trump in a week's time. Last week, the Senate voted on a nonbinding resolution reaffirming support for NATO, just as Trump levied fierce attacks against the alliance. Then the Senate voted overwhelmingly calling for Congress to have a role when the President cites national security as a reason for imposing tariffs, as he's done on Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Cornyn said it's possible senators may put together another "sense of the Senate" resolution, which would not be binding but would allow the GOP-led chamber to formally register its objections to Trump's stunning comments alongside Putin on Monday in Finland.

"I don't know what the President's mental calculation was in giving Putin a pass," the Texas Republican said. "But there's no question in my mind that Putin was responsible."

Cornyn added: "I do want to make sure that the intelligence community knows we support them. I think that's an important message."