Former Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine did not hold back in questioning President-elect Donald Trump's loyalty to this nation, wondering: "Why does President-elect Trump again and again and again take it upon himself to be Vladimir Putin's defense lawyer, rather than listening to and respecting the intelligence professionals of the United States?"
During an interview with CNN's Alisyn Camerota, Senator Tim Kaine reminded us why he was such an excellent choice for the Democratic ticket, precisely detailing the many concerns about Donald Trump's alarming relationship with Vladimir Putin, his hostility toward the intelligence community, and his perplexing and worrying indifference to protecting "American electoral systems from invasion or attack by a foreign government."
Tim Kaine: "If [Trump] went to his intelligence briefings, maybe he'd have a different conclusion" on Russian hacks. https://t.co/QZEZj8E2tN
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 5, 2017
KAINE: Well, I'm shocked. When he is quoting Julian Assange, who is wanted for sexual assault crimes in Sweden, as some kind of authority on this, that makes me really scratch my head. So, here are three things: I'm on two committees — Armed Services and Foreign Relations — where we receive significant classified information about this.
I can't go into that information, but I can say this: Those intelligence professionals, who I respect, have reached a unanimous conclusion that Russia engaged in cyberattacks on the presidential election with the goal of influencing it in favor of the election of Donald Trump. They have reached that conclusion.
And they are people that I respect. And so, when I see the tweets that President-elect Trump sends out: One, he is demeaning the professionalism and the careers of some very, very sharp people; and second, I note that he doesn't go to his intelligence briefings most days. I do go to my intelligence briefings, and I know what the evidence is. If he went to his intelligence briefings, maybe he'd have a different conclusion about this.
But the thing, Alisyn, that makes me very, very concerned — and I talked about this during the campaign — why does President-elect Trump again and again and again take it upon himself to be Vladimir Putin's defense lawyer, rather than listening to and respecting the intelligence professionals of the United States?
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, Senator, he would say that he wants to reset; he wants a new relationship with Vladimir Putin; he thinks that somehow our two countries can be allies in the fight against ISIS.
KAINE: Well, I think we could be allies in the fight against ISIS, but does that mean you trash American intelligence professionals? They're playing an important role in the fight against ISIS.
There is something very unusual, indeed even sort of suspicious, about the degree to which he casually kicks aside the intelligence community when he won't even go to the briefings — and again and again takes the Assange-Vladimir Putin line on this important question.
Any President of the United States should want to protect American electoral systems from invasion or attack by a foreign government — and President-elect Trump should want to do that, too.
Thank you, Senator Kaine, for saying everything we want to hear from Democratic patriots during this national crisis.