President Barack Obama on Wednesday rejected calls from Republican senators for an independent investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election, arguing that the Senate should take up a bipartisan bill to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.
The President said the Senate had already voted on a bipartisan measure to investigate the matter, but he called on GOP senators to take up the matter “without any reservations.”
“If the Senate is going to take that up, then I think the American people have a right to know that the investigation is done, that the results are published, and that there is a thorough investigation,” Obama said at a White House press briefing.
“If there’s a Republican senator that’s not going to do that, then the American public has a right, I guess, to know.
And if that’s the case, then let’s have a fair and transparent process, let’s see what the facts are and if there are any things that we should do, because there are.”
The President is scheduled to visit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Czech Republic next week.
“This is the most important meeting between two heads of state of the United States and two heads in world history,” Obama told reporters on Wednesday.
“There are some differences between President Putin and President Trump, but I’m not going any further than that.
The American people are entitled to know what the conclusions of the investigations are.
And, I think, that we can be as honest as we can about what the investigation should look at and what the consequences are of what we’ve seen.”
The president’s remarks came as Senate Republicans held a hearing Tuesday to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, which Democrats say was motivated by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire to sway the election in his favor.
On Wednesday, the White House said Trump has not received any briefings from the Republican-controlled Senate about the probe.
“President Trump and the president have not been briefed on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, nor have the president nor any members of the administration been given any briefings on this,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
“It’s very important for the president to know who the intelligence community is and what it’s investigating, and what they’re looking for.”
Sanders said Trump is aware of the investigation’s status and is considering how he would respond to it.
“The president is going into this with a lot of enthusiasm.
He’s been a supporter of the president’s, who has been a very strong supporter of this investigation.
The president is certainly considering all of the options that are available to him,” Sanders said.
“So, he’s going into it with enthusiasm and will make his decision when he makes it.
But at this point, we’ve got no comment on the status of the probe.”
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida, two of the GOP leaders on the Intelligence Committee, called for a special investigation into Russia’s election meddling last month.
Cruz said last month that the committee should “conduct a thorough, independent investigation of whether Russia interfered in the election,” adding that he did not believe Trump himself would be indicted.
“We have an obligation to ensure that we don’t see another American president in office whose political agenda or who his associates have colluded or who he is colluding with,” Rubio said at the time.
We’re not a banana republic, we don. “
But the bottom line is, we’re a democratic society, and we need to have a serious investigation.
We’re not a banana republic, we don.
And it’s time that we did that,” Rubio added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said last week that Trump’s comments on Russia “make me think that we need an investigation, and it’s going to come from the people that were there.”
“It would be good to have that bipartisan investigation.
But there’s no reason to expect the Senate to do it now, because we already have,” Graham told reporters Tuesday.
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence committee is also conducting an inquiry into Trump’s alleged ties to Russian President Vladamir Putin.
Trump has been criticized by Democrats and some members of his own party for his comments during the campaign about how Russia interfered with the election.
“Russian hackers hacked Democratic Party emails, Democratic Party leaders, Democratic National Committee emails,” Trump said at one point during a rally in Ohio in October.
“They’re hacking all of our emails, they’re hacking Hillary Clinton’s emails, and they’re trying to figure out if we have her emails.”
The House Intelligence Committee is also investigating Trump and Russia’s involvement in the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.
Democrats have called on both congressional committees to hold hearings on Trump’s claims that Russia interfered.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is currently investigating Trump’s potential involvement in a possible