Marco Rubio wants Russian meddling investigation to run its course
Marco Rubio

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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio told a Fox News audience Sunday that President Donald Trump should allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to fully run its course.

“That’s the best thing that could happen for him, and it’s the best thing that could happen for the country,” Rubio said.

The Florida senator appeared on Fox News Sunday for an interview with anchor Chris Wallace, who for most of the interview discussed the administration’s dealings with Russia and North Korea.

Trump this week called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to bring an end to Mueller’s investigation, which he has repeatedly labeled a “rigged witch hunt.”

But Rubio said Trump has focused too much on Mueller’s investigation of his campaign on not on the big picture regarding Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

“He [Trump] says he knows for a fact obviously that he did not collude with the Russians, and he thinks this investigation that Mueller is conducting is solely about collusion,” Rubio said, “and that’s probably why he feels very strongly about that.”

Rubio said he’s personally focused right now on preventing further meddling in U.S. democracy in the 2018 election cycle. He and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, in January filed a bill threatening sanctions against foreign actors who attempt to disrupt American elections.

“What we are hoping to do is deter future activity,” Rubio told Wallace.

Specifically, Rubio wants Russian President Vladimir Putin to weigh the cost and benefits of stoking divisions in U.S. politics and decide such actions aren’t worth the risk.

“I can guarantee that if we don’t do something, he will interfere again in multiple ways,” Rubio predicted, “because right now the costs are too unpredictable and too low.”

Rubio and Van Hollen’s bill as written would let sanctions automatically go into effect based on a call by the director of national intelligence, notable considering the friction between the president and intelligence community today. But Rubio conceded that part of the bill may need to include a presidential waiver in order to pass through Congress and be signed into law by Trump.

Rubio also said during the intervie he has little faith North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will willingly denuclearize, and that instead the regime would unilaterally discontinue certain activities that won’t slow the development of further weapons, such as dismantling facilities for older missiles.

“I hope I’m wrong about, but I not believe that he [Kim] is ever going to give up his nuclear arsenal,” Rubio said.

But Rubio declined to criticize the Trump administration on negotations with Kim, saying the president is “hoping for the best but prepared for the worst.”

Rubio also discussed his recent proposal for paid family leave that could be tapped by individuals pulling from their own social security. But he acknowledged shepherding that concept through the legislative process will take time. “It’s a revolutionary idea, and it’s going to take time to pass.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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