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Risch: Whoever disclosed Trump-Russia leak to Wash. Post is ‘the weasel,’ a ‘traitor’

Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, a member of the Senate intelligence and foreign relations committees, has strongly defended President Donald Trump in the midst of the nationwide uproar over reports that he revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week. When Risch said Trump had every legal right to disclose information to Russian officials, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer asked Risch on Tuesday afternoon, “But was it the right thing to do?” “Yes,” Risch responded. “Presidents have done this regularly.”

Risch told CNN, “There’s a weasel here and the weasel is not the president of the United States. It’s the traitor who disclosed these facts to the Washington Post. I wish you’d go out and interview the Washington Post and ask ‘em to disclose who that is.”

Later, on the PBS News Hour, Risch told correspondent John Yang, “The real story here is there’s a weasel here. They betrayed their own country, they betrayed their families and their neighbors, and when you disclose classified information … it is an act of treason. It’s unfortunate we can’t get that person identified, but he or she should be identified and treated as any treasonous person would be.”

Risch said, “It’s part of this anti-Trump fervor that the national media has, to try to make him look bad every time he turns around. This was a good act that he did, not a bad act. But there was a bad act here. Tell us who did this so we can put him in jail.”

Meanwhile, Lindsay Nothern, spokesman for Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, said, “Senator Crapo has said he is looking forward to getting to the facts with the three investigations we now have underway with the House and Senate committees and by the FBI.”

And 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador told radio host Nate Shelman on 670 KBOI in Boise this afternoon that he thinks Trump is doing “a terrific job” and that the problem is his messaging and “using that Twitter account.” Labrador said, “I have always said that it would be wise for the president and his advisers to stop using that Twitter account. I think sometimes he makes it more difficult for those good things that he is doing to be celebrated – he steps on his message.”

Labrador said he believes Democrats are “just mad about the fact that they lost.”

Asked about the latest New York Times report about Trump asking then-FBI Director James Comey to drop his investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Labrador said, “I think he’s doing a good job. I think some of these stories, there’s no basis in fact for them. I don’t know about this particular one. … I have not heard about this. But it’s kind of a drip, drip, drip, and I think they just need to be more focused on their message, and I think they’re going to be very successful. So far the results are really good. The chaos that is created by some of their communications, it needs to go away a little bit.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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