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Rubio Sounding Skeptical About Trump’s Wiretap Claim Against Obama

Monday, March 6, 2017 8:06
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Senator Rubio isn’t sure that President Trump’s recent allegation that President Obama has wiretapped his administration is all that true.

Here is the transcript of Rubio’s interview this past Sunday on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd:

Chuck Todd asked, “as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, if there was a wiretap on Donald Trump’s campaign, isn’t that something you would have been made aware of?”

Rubio: Well, again, I think the term “wiretap” is thrown around very loosely, and by a lot of people. So we have to understand exactly what they’re talking about. Suffice it to say I don’t have any basis, I’ve never heard that allegation made before by anybody. I’ve never seen anything about that anywhere before. But again, the president put that out there, and now the White House will have to answer as to exactly what he was referring to.

CHUCK TODD:

It’s such a serious allegation. I mean it is either, if it’s true, it’s an extraordinary political scandal. And if it’s not true, it’s an extraordinary political scandal. Fair?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well, if it’s true, and I just hate speculating about these things because it gives, you know—

CHUCK TODD:

This is the president of the United States that’s speculating on our behalf —

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

I understand. But I’m saying if it–

CHUCK TODD:

–on our behalf.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Let’s say– clearly, I don’t think anybody– if that were true, then there’s no doubt that it would be a very newsworthy item with a lot of discussion about it. And if it’s not true, then obviously, one would ask themselves, “Well, why did you put that out there to begin with? And what was the rationale behind it?”

But look, I didn’t make the allegation. I’m not the person that went out there and said it. I’ve already told you I don’t have– I’ve never said that before. I wouldn’t say that to you today. I have no basis to say that. If the president or the White House does, then they’re going to lay that out over the next few days, and we’re all going to be very interested to see just exactly what it is they were talking about.

CHUCK TODD:

Are you concerned that the president is gonna– has a credibility problem? You know, we can go back to the birther business, three to five million illegal votes, now this wiretap thing that you say you’re not aware of. This is the president of the United States. Can we take him at his word?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well first of all, I would say the president has gotten elected, and he, in many ways, is doing exactly what he told people he was going to do. A lot of this outrage that’s out there is because Donald Trump is doing what Donald Trump said he was going to do if he was elected.

And it’s one– and you see that reflected in the public polling, where a large number of Americans are saying, “He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do.” And that’s what I think people are mostly focused on. Is the president’s style different than mine? Absolutely. Is he an unorthodox political figure? Absolutely. But I’ve got to tell you, that’s what people voted for. That’s what they wanted in this election. He is doing what he said he was going to do. And I think voters and Republicans–

CHUCK TODD:

You don’t think voters want to be misled.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

–in particular value that.

CHUCK TODD:

You don’t think voters want to have their president intentionally mislead them, do you?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well, no one is saying that. But I am saying to you that the president has a unique style of communicating that is different from the way I would do it. And he won. He was elected.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

People voted for Donald Trump to be president of the United States. And they want him to be Donald Trump. And he is doing what he said he was going to do if elected.

CHUCK TODD:

Let’s move on to this investigation. Are you concerned that it seems as if people associated with the Trump administration who were also associated with the campaign, they seem to deny any contacts with any Russian officials during the campaign. Then there’s a report that comes out. Then they sort of reluctantly admit, “Oh yes, I forgot about that meeting, or I forgot about this meeting.” And it’s turning into a pattern. We now have three or four and five different officials that that has happened to. Are you concerned about this pattern?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well ultimately, what I’d be concerned about is if there is an– you know, what I’m concerned about the most is what the active measures undertaken by the Russians to interfere with, participate in, steer and undermine our elections, what was that composed of? That’s what I want us to focus on.

Now, there are facts that may emerge as a result of that that will be interesting to the American people, and that we’re going to put out in our report when the Senate Intelligence Committee is done. That’s what we’re doing. We are gathering facts so that, not only do we know what happened, but we are prepared for the future of what this could mean.

I just returned from a trip a week ago to France and to Germany, where they have pending elections. They, too, are seeing the sort of active measures undertaken. So the purpose of the investigation is to gather facts, put them in a report to the Senate and the American people, so that we know what happened, and so that we can deal with it in the future. Because this is going to be an ongoing thing, unfortunately, not just in elections, but in our public policy debates.

Now, incidental to that, there may be facts that people look at and say, “Well, this may require further attention from someone else.” I’m not saying that that’s where it’s going to lead. I am saying, if that happens, that’ll be the job of someone else to pursue that. We’re going to gather the facts. We’re going to put them out there, wherever those facts lead us. And then we’ll allow people to make judgments based on those facts.

CHUCK TODD:

Given that there’s been reports that the White House reached out to your chairman of this intelligence committee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, some Democrats are concerned, including Mark Warner, are concerned that the credibility of the intelligence committee’s investigation is now at peril because of this. Is there a point, and I know you believe you guys can do this, you have tweeted about that you guys can do this yourselves in the intel committee, is there a point, though, that it might be better for the political process to take politics out of this, have an independent commission, special prosecutor, whatever you want to call it, and put this sort of out of Congress right now?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Not really. I mean not now. I certainly don’t think we’re at that point at this moment. And here’s why. The job of the intelligence committee is not to be a law enforcement agency. The job of the intelligence committee is to gather facts and evidence, to go through counterintelligence programs, intelligence programs, understand all the evidence and the facts that’s out there about how the Russians did this, why they did this, et cetera, and put all this in a report. That is our job, to gather facts.

And I believe that’s what we’re going to do. I’ve told everybody, “I’m not going to be a part of a witch hunt. But I’m also not going to be a part of a cover-up.” I want us to put the facts out there, wherever those facts lead us. And I believe that is what the Senate Intelligence Committee will do.

And I will tell you this, if that’s not what we do, if it, in fact, is not the kind of product that we produce, I will be among the first people out there on this program and others, telling you that I did not sign my name to that report because I believe it omitted relevant facts that the American people deserve to know. We are a finder of facts, a collector of facts.

CHUCK TODD:

Yeah.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

We will put that in a report. And then people will be able to make their own judgments based on those facts.

CHUCK TODD:

You know, right after Director– the F.B.I. Director Comey briefed the intelligence committee, I believe it was about– well, in fact, it was exactly on February 17th, you tweeted the following: “I am now very confident Senate Intel Comm, Committee, I serve on will conduct thorough bipartisan investigation of Putin interference and influence.” I understand some of that is a classified situation that you were briefed on. But what gave you more confidence that day to tweet that than before that day?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well first of all, because I’m interacting with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. And the sense that I have very strongly is that virtually every member, if not every member of that committee, is interested in arriving at facts and of the truth. That no one is in there looking for this for a political angle. Everybody, at the end of the day, understands what our job is, understands that the credibility of the committee is on the line. And we want to arrive at the truth.

That everyone in there is prepared to go wherever the facts lead us, irrespective of what the implications may be politically. I’m very confident of that. I remain confident of that. If that changes, then I will be among the first out there—

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

–to say that I, the committee is no longer capable of doing its job. But we’re not at that point, thankfully.

CHUCK TODD:

You said– you just– you said earlier in an answer, you said you’re not going to participate in a witch hunt. And that is words that the president has used to describe all of this. The more he does that, is that an irresponsible use of phrase right now?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well, I don’t know why. I mean he obviously feels very strongly that he’s being accused of things that he hasn’t done, and that there’s hysteria out there in the media. And so he has a right to express himself, just as people are out there basically saying that he won his election simply because of the Russians.

And he feels that’s unfair. And he has every right to defend himself, and that’s what he’s doing. My use of the term has to do with the following, and that is, I want to go where the truth is, irrespective of its political implications. Wherever the truth is, is where we’re going to go. And everyone else needs to be committed to that principle, as well.

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CHUCK TODD:

Do you–

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

And I believe, in the intelligence committee, that we are. And if that changes, as I told you, I’ll be among—

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

–the first out there to say it.

CHUCK TODD:

Very quickly, do you still believe the intelligence community’s assessment that the Russians interfered in this election and did so to try to benefit Donald Trump?

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Well, I’ve never doubted that the intel– I’ve never– from back in October, I’ve been telling people. I was in the middle of my campaign, and I refused to talk about Wikileaks—

CHUCK TODD:

Right.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

–because I said repeatedly it was the work of a foreign intelligence agency trying to influence our elections. The key here is to understand not just what they did but how they did it, because they’re going to try to do it again and again, not just to influence elections, but to influence political debates in Washington D.C..

I want us to make sure that we focus on what– that we don’t spend so much time focused on things that may not have happened, that we don’t focus on the things that actually did happen. Because they’re happening now in France, they’re happening now in Germany. And it will happen again in this country if we don’t learn from it.

CHUCK TODD:

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. Always a pleasure, sir.

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO:

Thank you.

(Transcript posted by the Tampa Bay Times)

The post Rubio Sounding Skeptical About Trump’s Wiretap Claim Against Obama appeared first on Shark Tank.



Source: http://shark-tank.com/2017/03/06/rubio-sounding-skeptical-about-trumps-wiretap-claim-against-obama/

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