Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin has asserted that if the American public was made aware of the extent of the Russian government’s alleged interference during the 2016 presidential election that he and fellow lawmakers learned from classified briefings, the country would be clamoring for a do-over.
On Jan. 21, Pocan defended the controversial decision made by Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia to boycott President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
A week before the election, Lewis revealed that he would not attend the inauguration because “I don’t see the president-elect as a legitimate president.”
“I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected,” Lewis told NBC News. “And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton … You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong, is not right.”
Pocan asserted that Lewis’ comments would seem less hyperbolic if the public knew what lawmakers had learned from classified intelligence briefings.
“Almost all of this will slowly come out as more investigations happen but I think there’s a part that really was at the core of what John Lewis was trying to say,” Pocan said during an interview with radio show SiriusXM Progress, The Huffington Post reports.
“When he said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president — I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think he was referring that that there are grave questions as to whether or not this was a legitimate election,” Pocan continued.
The Wisconsin lawmaker added that the information he was referring to had not yet been publicly reported.
“When you see the full extent of this, it’s clearly a very troubling situation,” Pocan said. “And I think in other countries, from what I understand, if this stuff would have come out, I think they probably would have redone the election.”
Trump has repeatedly dismissed the consensus among the intelligence community that the Russian government acted to influence the outcome of the presidential election. During a press conference on Jan. 11, Trump stated that he believed that the Russians indeed hacked and leaked data from Democratic organizations and the Clinton campaign, but asserted that those actions had no impact on the election.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. “Hacking’s bad, and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking.”
Earlier that morning, Trump had tweeted out that the intelligence community was behaving like “Nazi Germany.”
Pocan blasted Trump for “so flippantly [dismissing] the intelligence community … he’s seen the same thing I’ve seen, and he’s being disingenuous in his response.”
On Jan. 19, Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings expressed a similar sentiment. While Cummings opted to attend the inauguration, he defended his colleagues who chose to boycott it, suggesting that their decision would make more sense if the public knew all that they had learned.
“You gotta understand that we members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” Cummings told CNN. “If the public knew what members of Congress knew … The information will come out later at some point. Then the public will fully understand.”
Sources: CNN, The Huffington Post, NBC News, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: WisPolitics/Flickr