Russian President Vladimir Putin is reaping the benefits of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and the longer the investigation goes, the more Putin gains, Sen. James Lankford said Thursday.
“Putin’s main focus is to stir controversy in our democracy, and he uses every device he gets,” the Oklahoma Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“Every two years, he uses elections. They aren’t his goal. Elections are one more piece in trying to stir Americans to be able to turn against each other.”
The Russian leader uses all he can to gain an advantage, said Lankford, including race, religion, and “every divisive issue that come out of the country’s elections.”
“For some people that think it’s all about the elections, they are missing the larger piece of what the Russians are trying to do,” said Lankford. “They’re trying to stir us. The more we’re talking about this and fighting with each other with Russians, the better they are.”
Earlier in the day, Lankford and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., told CNN they are concerned that President Donald Trump and the White House aren’t doing enough to secure this year’s midterm elections. Further. Lankford commented that Trump is the “only one” not paying attention to Russian threats.
The senators are working for a vote on the Senate floor this month to shore up the nation’s election systems, but said more needs done with the midterms coming less than 100 days from now.
Meanwhile, Lankford told Fox News that he has been skeptical about the need for a special counsel to investigate election meddling all along, but at the same time, other presidents have spoken with other special counsels.
“If I was his legal counsel, he will have to make that hard decision,” Lankford said. “The president said he is willing to sit down with Mueller and answer questions.”
Special investigations can “drag on” for a long time, said Lankford, and his advice to Mueller would be to wrap up the investigation.
“It’s best for the president and the presidency if they get this wrapped up in due time, actually goes through the entire process and completes it and is able to close the book,” said Lankford. “That’s best for the American people.”
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