“I understand the president’s reluctance about this because it affects his election, and I fully understand that. And I started my comments yesterday by saying this is more in sorrow than in anger. I’m not berating the president, I’m urging the president because I think he can separate these two issues, say to the American people this was wrong, and we’re going to deal with it. It would unify the government and unify the public,” Mr. King, Maine independent, said on CNN.
He said Mr. Trump’s reluctance to address the issue has created doubt among the American public about whether or not Russia actually tried to influence the 2016 election. Intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia tried to hack the presidential election and influence the results. While they were unsuccessful in changing ballot counts, their influence over social media has been highly scrutinized.
“I talk to people in Maine and they say, ‘We don’t believe this.’ The president says this is a witch hunt, this is a hoax, this didn’t happen,” Mr. King said.
Intelligence agency leaders told lawmakers on Tuesday that they are acting to prevent similar hacking attempts during this year’s midterm elections, but added Mr. Trump has not given them any direct orders to do so.
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