(Bloomberg) -- Two top House Democrats said allegations that President Donald Trump sought business in Russia longer into the 2016 presidential campaign than he previously suggested raises the possibility that the Russians have compromised his ability to work in the national interest.
The relationship between Trump and Russia outlined in a guilty plea last week by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “is so deeply compromising,” said Representative Adam Schiff, who is expected next year to take over the House Intelligence Committee.
“That puts our country at risk,” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.” He said the new details that have emerged beyond previously known ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia suggests such compromise is “far broader than we thought.”
Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s ongoing denial that he sought to profit in Russia -- even as his campaign took an unusually conciliatory approach to the country -- meant that Russia might have ongoing leverage over the president.
The fact “that he was lying to the American people about doing business in Russia and that the Kremlin knew he was lying gave the Kremlin a hold over him,” said Nadler, who’s expected to take over the Judiciary panel next year that would begin any impeachment proceedings against Trump. “One question we have now is, does the Kremlin still have hold over him, because of other lies that they know about?”
Republican Senator John Barrasso, who will head the Senate Republican conference next year, echoed the president’s defense that Cohen has lied and that there was nothing unseemly about Trump pursuing business opportunities while he ran for president.
“The president is an international businessman,” Barrasso said on NBC. “I’m not surprised he was doing international business.”
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