WASHINGTON ? After another day of explosive revelations concerning President Donald Trump, former FBI director James Comey, and the president seeming to reveal highly classified information to the Russians, House Republicans were mostly silent.
House Republicans appear to be so unconcerned with Trump revealing top secret information to an adversary that many are still unfamiliar with the Washington Post story about it, telling reporters Tuesday night ? a full 24 hours after the story broke ? that they couldn?t comment on the matter until they had read the report.
?You know, I was with the grandkids in Florida this morning. I haven?t been paying attention,? Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) told HuffPost.
?You got me. Is there something new that?s out?? Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) said when asked if he was concerned the president may have shared classified information with the Russians.
?I?m certainly aware generally from the news, but I have not read the story in particular,? Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.V.) said.
?This news is less than 24 hours old,? Jenkins continued, about 25 hours after the story broke. ?And I have not read that story in particular, but certainly [I?m] aware of it, and look forward to looking at it, and, certainly, we?ll think about what it says.?
Other Republicans also declined to answer questions about Trump revealing the sensitive intel ? House GOP leaders avoided making statements to the press Tuesday ? but some other Republicans were more honest about the situation.
?I?d rather not talk about it,? Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) said. ?I?m not staying out of it on a personal level, I?m just staying out of it in the press.?
News was moving so fast Tuesday that some Republicans declined to answer for fear that they may have missed a new revelation, particularly after it was also reported Tuesday that Trump had asked former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
When HuffPost tried to ask Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) about Trump revealing classified information, he suggested he couldn?t answer because he couldn?t keep the stories straight.
?I?m not quite sure which one you want to talk about,? Diaz-Balart said.
As much of a cop-out as that response was, it was just as illuminating as the most honest answer we received Tuesday night ? from Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah).
?Okay, what non-answer do you want me to give you?? Bishop asked dryly. He added that he really couldn?t answer the question without more answers about what was actually shared in the Oval Office.
?Everything I?ve heard so far has been prefaced by ?if it?s true,?? Bishop said.
For the few Republicans who were concerned, that was a big caveat. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) said that if it were true, he would be troubled. ?I would be concerned if he revealed highly classified information to the Russians,? Rothfus said, adding that we didn?t have all the facts yet.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) also said he would be ?concerned? if the report were true, but he added that it was concerning on the whole that the president seemed to have such a lax attitude toward classified information. ?The administration needs to brief Congress on what was discussed,? Amash said.
Republicans more broadly, however, seemed to have some concern about the veracity of the Washington Post report.
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) doubted the sensitive nature of the information. ?There are few sources I trust less than the Washington Post,? Cramer said.
And the reserved judgment from most members seemed to be based on the potential that what Trump shared with Russia wasn?t as secret as first believed. The Washington Post reported that the information was akin to ?code-word information,? but national security adviser H.R. McMaster later claimed the information was nothing people couldn?t know from ?open-source reporting.?
That argument was undermined Tuesday, though, as the White House asked the media not to name the city from which the intelligence Trump shared was collected ? a fact that Trump reportedly shared with the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office. If the information wasn?t that sensitive, and no sources or methods were revealed in telling Russia those details, why would the administration ask the media not to disclose it?
Republicans may have to answer those questions at some point, as their excuses ? that they haven?t read the story, or that they haven?t heard from the administration ? eventually will expire.
But they could always go the route of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who seems to be over the idea that he has to make up excuses to cover for the president. When a Politico reporter asked Issa for his take on the latest news about Comey, Issa said nothing, gave the reporter the middle finger, and just kept walking.
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