Joaquín Castro: Don’t Turn Trump-Russia Investigation Into A Witch Hunt

“We shouldn’t prejudge a conclusion or make this a witch hunt against the president or any particular person.”

By Laura RiceMarch 21, 2017 1:17 pm

The United States House Intelligence Committee quizzed FBI Director James Comey Monday over the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia and President Donald Trump’s Twitter allegations of President Barack Obama wiretapping Trump Tower.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) sits on the committee and took part in the questioning, in a room one reporter described as “deadly quiet” as Comey spoke.

Castro spoke with the Texas Standard about getting answers (or non-answers) from Comey. The FBI director’s answer for many of Castro and other committee members’ questions was that he wouldn’t comment.  

“Obviously he was reticent to say anything because we were in open session and also because this is near the beginning of the investigation,” Castro says. “But I hope that we’ll eventually get answers to all of those questions and, most of all, figure out the truth about whether any Americans – whether they were associated with the Trump campaign or not – whether they coordinated with the Russians with our 2016 election.”

On whether he feels like there’s evidence of collusion:

“What we know for sure, and what the American public knows for sure, is that that’s being investigated right now. As I said before, we shouldn’t prejudge a conclusion or make this a witch hunt against the president or any particular person. At the same time, the FBI and the committees that are charged with investigating this should be allowed to go where the evidence leads.”

On whether he agrees intelligence information leaks to the press are a serious matter:

“They absolutely are. And I think both Republicans and Democrats care about that issue, just as I think Republicans care about getting to the truth about anybody who coordinated with the Russians.”

On whether the investigation is an attempt to delegitimize Trump’s presidency and blame the Russians for Hillary Clinton’s loss:

“This is not an attempt to relitigate the 2016 presidential election. As I’ve said from the very beginning of his presidency, that like it or not Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States. He won the election. … [Monday] was all about coordinating with Russia about the leaks about the wiretapping – things that are relevant right and that we need to resolve to make sure for example that Russia doesn’t come back in 2020 and try to do the same thing.”

On where the investigation goes from here:

“I suspect that this will be a month-long investigation, hopefully not a year’s investigation. … The professionals in the intelligence community will go do their work, certainly the House and Senate committees will be involved in oversight, but this is a process and a careful one and it’s going to take a while to resolve.”

The Texas Standard reached out to the two Texas Republican members on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Midland) and Will Hurd (R-El Paso), but was unable to schedule interviews with either of them before publication.
Written by Beth Cortez-Neavel.