Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana on Saturday lumped Russia with America’s gravest enemies and said it should never be trusted.
“I trust Russia and China and Iran and North Korea like I trust a Jussie Smollett police report,” Kennedy said during an appearance on the Fox News show “Your World” with Neil Cavuto, according to Fox News.
Smollett, a former star of the Fox dreama “Empire,” claimed he was assaulted on a Chicago street in January, a claim later shown to be a hoax.
Kennedy said hostile and potentially hostile world powers have changed their approach to the United States since the administration of President Donald Trump began.
“You can’t trust them and they’re not going to stop — they’re not our friends. Since President Trump took office, they don’t love us anymore, but I think, by God, they respect us now,” Kennedy said.
From Fox News – Sen. Kennedy: Trusting Russia, North Korea, Iran like trusting ‘a Jussie Smollett police report’!/ Absolutely Right!!https://t.co/A5QJzgm5cz
— Kathleen Hunter (@KateHun49524279) September 14, 2019
Kennedy sounded off about Russia in the context of remarks by former Defense Secretary James Mattis that made it clear Mattis views Russia and Russian leader Vladimir Putin with a jaundiced eye.
During a CNN interview last week, Mattis was asked about allowing Russia back into the G-7, the elite club of the world’s nations with the biggest economies.
“That’s in more the economic vein and I won’t comment on that, but we’re going to have to deal with the Putin that is, not the Putin we wanted,” Mattis said.
To Mattis, dealing with Russia will require a major effort that needs partners.
“I remember in the 1990s, when Russian marines and U.S. Marines trained together in North Carolina for peacekeeping operations. Those days are long past now. We’re going to have to recognize they’ve mucked around in our elections, that they’ve invaded two countries and seized territory. And we’re going to have to deal with this. And the only way to deal with it is with allies,” he said.
“So, externally I would look at those two. That’s why we rewrote the national defense strategy to acknowledge the reality of those nations — not the nations that we wanted to be dealing with, but the Russia of Putin, the reality; the China of President Xi,” Mattis said.
Mattis also warned that divisions threaten the U.S.
“But internally, my bigger concern is twofold: It’s our growing debt that we’re going to transfer to the younger generation with seemingly no fiscal discipline. And more than that, it’s the lack of friendliness, it’s the increasing contempt I see between Americans who have different opinions.
“We’re going to have to sit down and remember, if we want this country to survive, we’re going to have to work together. There’s no way around that. That’s the way a democracy is set up. So, I would break it into those two fundamental different threats,” he said.
Kennedy’s crack to Cavuto on Saturday might not have been as serious as Mattis’ words, but the first-term senator is building a reputation for a rapier wit.
As early as January, about Jussie Smollett was profiled by Fox News for using humor to make his points with deadly earnestness.
Check it out here:
But when he wants to deliver a message, he can be all business.
During his Saturday interview, Kennedy said one way to strengthen democracy is to lay out all the facts to the American people so they can decide.
He was speaking specifically about a draft report on possible abuses of surveillance rules that might have been committed during the Obama administration — when surveillance of the Trump campaign began — that he said should be made public.
The initial surveillance later snowballed into the Robert Mueller investigation that looked for collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but found none.
If there were abuses, Kennedy said those who committed them should be “dismissed.”
And maybe much more than that.
“If necessary, they need to be prosecuted with great vengeance and furious anger,” he said.
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