In Constituent Letters, Steve King Dismisses Trump-Russia Collusion As “Wildly Off-Base”

As Trump reeled from scathing criticism for siding with Putin over his own intelligence agencies on Russia, the congressman urged constituents not to participate "in a media circus that only seeks to damage the President"

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Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A reader and Steve King constituent pointed us to a letter she received Tuesday and posted online from the congressman after recently writing his office to voice her concerns about evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. The letter, in which King stays consistent with previous statements he’s made suggesting the Mueller investigation is much ado about nothing and that more focus should be put on Hillary Clinton, has since been shared on Facebook by others who received it and generated a bit of interest from 4th District residents hopeful that King’s Democratic opponent, J.D. Scholten, will be the challenger to finally beat the odds and end his reign. (Scroll down to read the letter in full.)

In the letter, King criticizes the “near-daily allegations, conjecture, and innuendo in the mainstream media that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election” as “wildly off-base.” He also argues that the public should be more focused on achieving policy goals such as ending abortion and repealing Obamacare. “I believe the benefits of achieving this substantive policy agenda are far more important for the American people than participating in a media circus that only seeks to damage the President,” he writes.

King’s timing was perhaps somewhat unfortunate: His constituents received the letter on the day after Trump’s widely derided press conference in Finland with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At the conference, Trump contradicted his own intelligence agencies — and, possibly, even Putin himself during it — by saying he didn’t “see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. (More than 24 hours later, Trump claimed he had misspoken and meant to say “wouldn’t.”)

Here’s King’s letter:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is good to hear from you.

As you may know, there are near-daily allegations, conjecture, and innuendo in the mainstream media that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. These allegations are wildly off-base and often cite anonymous sources or leaks in the government.

The U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, FBI, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are conducting separate investigations into allegations that Russia interfered in the election. So far no witnesses before the House and Senate have given any record of any evidence that supports the notion that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. It is important that their testimonies be taken more seriously than off-the-record comments, anonymous sources, or leaks from career bureaucrats and Obama Administration holdovers who seek to damage the White House.

Furthermore, I believe these investigations should be broadened beyond mere allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. There are many unanswered questions and potential violations of the law and ethics that should be thoroughly and independently investigated as well, including: the Hillary Clinton email server; the DNC email scandal; leaks from within the government; the unmasking of Americans incidentally intercepted as part of foreign intelligence collection; the meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on the Phoenix tarmac; the thoroughness, validity, and legality of the FBI investigation itself; and any other potential criminal violations.

The opportunity to defend the sanctity of life, repeal Obamacare, secure our border, restore rule of law, cut taxes, reduce burdensome regulations, and grow the economy remain ahead of the 115th Congress and the 45th President of the United States. I believe the benefits of achieving this substantive policy agenda are far more important for the American people than participating in a media circus that only seeks to damage the President.

As the House moves forward with the peoples’ legislative agenda, I will keep your thoughts in mind. Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to do so in the future.

Sincerely,

Steve King
Member of Congress

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.