Even with the president on a nine-day overseas trip, a flurry of news continues to come out of Washington. Major stories include the release of the administration’s budget proposal, reactions to Monday’s bombing in Manchester England and Tuesday, another hearing regarding the investigation into Russia’s involvement in our election.
U.S. Congressman Will Hurd is a Republican representing Texas’s 23rd district. He sits on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held Tuesday’s hearing. Former CIA Director John Brennan testified that he had been concerned about Russian interference in the election, and that he had warned his Russian counterpart against continued election activities. Hurd says Brennan’s testimony, though concerning, did not include evidence of collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.
“What’s important as we move forward with these investigations is that everybody is patient, everybody is thorough, and that we be methodical about this, and be careful of the words that we use.” Hurd says.
Hurd expressed confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is also investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“The American people need to trust the outcome of Mueller’s investigation and the oversight reviews that are being done in the House and the Senate,” he says.
As part of its investigation, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has sought testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey. But Hurd says Comey has not responded to the request, or provided memos that he created, regarding conversations the FBI director had with President Trump. The House committee has also requested the memos.
On news reports that President Trump asked the NSA director to push back against reports of collusion:
“I think one of the things Bob Mueller is going to have to unpack is a number of these public assertions. And I think it’s important that we do this in a methodical way, and do it in a bipartisan way. And I trust Robert Mueller to do this in a thorough way. No one’s going to tell Bob Mueller what to do, and he’s going to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s, and he’s going to move with a level of efficiency. He understands how the FBI works and he understands how [Department of Justice] works. And I think he understands that the American people want to hear something quickly. With these investigations, it’s always hard to say how long they’re going to take, but you’ve got to allow federal law enforcement to follow the truth wherever they see it goes, and sometimes that takes time.”
On lessons the U.S. Can learn from the Manchester terrorist attack:
“I serve on the Homeland Security Committee, and last year, I was on a task force that looked at foreign fighters. These are Americans going into Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS and then coming back. One of the things we found was that our European allies’ standards for reviewing travelers were lax. For example, we found that in some cases, European officials were only checking one out of three travel documents. We also found that many of our European allies weren’t’ checking known travelers against watchlist information that we had provided.”
On President Trump’s budget proposal:
“I’ll say about President Trump’s budget the same thing I said about President Obama’s budget. It is a statement of priorities. It’s Congress that actually funds the government. So we will make sure Congress makes the decision on how to spend the hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and we are going to ensure that we are not delinquent on any promises msde to the American people.”