President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Republicans in Congress to “take control” of the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, prompting some head-scratching from a top GOP investigator on Capitol Hill.
“The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he didn’t know what the president meant.
“I don’t know what the president has in mind, and I don’t think I better comment until I have a discussion with the president on that,” Grassley said, when asked by reporters.
Then, seemingly catching himself, Grassley added: “And I don’t intend to have a discussion with the president on that point, and I hope he doesn’t call me and tell me the same thing that you said he said.”
Republican lawmakers have faced questions about whether Trump has pressured them to wind down their Russia investigations. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) confirmed recently that Trump called him and raised the subject last spring but hasn’t contacted him about it since.
“It was not a recent thing,” Burr told reporters last month.
Grassley also added that he hoped a decision by the top Democrat on his committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to unilaterally post the transcript of a closed-door interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson didn’t mark the beginning of a partisan breakdown. He said he’d recently shown his commitment to cooperation by agreeing to two interviews that Democrats had requested.
Feinstein, however, has said she wasn’t consulted before Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recommended that the FBI pursue a criminal investigation against former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, the author of a disputed Trump-Russia dossier for what they described as evidence that he made false statements to federal investigators.