Tuesday Congressman Gary Palmer said, “I have no doubt that Putin’s Russian operatives tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.”
“It does not take an expert on foreign policy to know that Vladimir Putin is a bad man,” Rep. Palmer said. “He is a ruthless and vindictive leader who is determined to restore Russia as a nation to be feared. I have no doubt that Putin’s Russian operatives tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. This has been confirmed through various sources, including the CIA and congressional investigations.”
While acknowledging that he believes there was a Russian operation to prevent Hillary Clinton from being President of the United States Palmer did not credit the Russians for the Republican electoral victory or acknowledge Democratic Party claims that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians operatives.
“However, this evidence should not be confused with the question of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia,” Palmer continued. “In fact, as our own intelligence agencies have disclosed, all the Russians have to show for their efforts is that they were successful in hacking the server of the Democratic National Committee.”
President Trump has been widely criticized by members of Congress from both parties for his statements at the Helsinki summit with President Putin.
“I appreciate the fact that President Trump has acknowledged that he misspoke at the press conference and fully supports the conclusions of our intelligence agencies,” Palmer said. “I encourage President Trump to step back and take stock of what is going on now as the Russians continue to try to divide us. We must continue to support the work of our intelligence agencies to protect us from those who would undermine our nation. Finally, these facts do not undermine the outcome of the 2016 election. President Trump should take great satisfaction from the fact that the American people elected him despite the efforts of the Russians and one or two operatives in the FBI to influence the outcome of the election.”
While many leaders of both political parties have declared the President’s summit a disastrous departure from decades of American foreign policy; Pres. Trump continued to defend his performance in Finland.
“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”
Senator Rand Paul is the most vocal defending the President’s performance. Paul is preparing for his own trip to Russia.
“There has to be some voice that doesn’t want war,” Paul said. “I want a voice that talks about engagement.”
Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.
(Original reporting by Fox News, CNN, and SFGate contributed to this report.)