Congressman Heck: ‘We are full blown into Manchurian Candidate territory’
The New York Times recently published a story about how the FBI opened a counter intelligence investigation following the firing of Director James Comey. It seems that someone felt that Trump might be acting as an agent of Russia, against the interests of the United States.
Congressman Denny Heck represents Washington’s 10th Congressional District. He would agree with that sentiment.
“I think we are full blown into Manchurian Candidate territory here,” Heck told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “Clearly, we’re in a circumstance where this is not normal. There is an avalanche of evidence that Trump’s campaign and the candidate himself were sympathetic to Russian positions, and were open to working with Russian affiliates and representatives, and frankly communicated very directly with very powerful oligarchs and Russian figures close to Vladimir Putin.”
“This ought to give every American pause hearing the president say ‘I have not worked with Russia,’” he said. “It was eerily reminiscent, to me, of Dick Nixon saying ‘I am not a crook.’”
Heck said that he and other Congress members are not identifying people they have already received testimony from.
Though it is their intention to transmit transcripts of those interviews to Robert Mueller, who is in charge of the Russia investigation, the New York Times mentions a James A. Baker who served as FBI general counsel until 2017. He has testified before House investigators.
“Frankly, President Trump being the chief law enforcement officer concerns me deeply … I think he’s manifestly unfit to occupy the White House,” Heck said. “It’s increasingly impossible to deny — with the number of indictments and convictions and the web of 16, count them, 16 people who worked with Mr. Trump and his campaign and with Russian operatives — that there is something going on here that is untoward. Every American should be concerned about it. Russia is not our friend. They interfered in our democracy in 2016. Irrespective of the fact that I don’t happen to be a member of the president’s party, I am an American first. And it’s not okay for a foreign country to interfere in our democracy.”
Heck says that Congress is currently focused on getting the government reopened, and setting up its committees. Once that happens, Congress can begin examining the evidence.
“This is all about Russia trying to make America weaker,” Heck said. “This is all about Russia trying to get the sanctions lessened, if not lifted …. We know the Trump administration is enormously sympathetic (to Russia).”
Heck points out that the Trump administration “took forever” to adopt sanctions against Russian. Those sanctions, known as CAATSA, were passed by a margin of 517-5 in the House. It was not a close vote.
Heck hopes that evidence of Russian interference can be brought to light ahead of the next presidential election.
“We need to know everything that went on, and we need to arm ourselves against this kind of intrusion by Russia again,” he said. “The sooner we can get a report from Director Mueller, the better off we will all be.”