Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says that, even if Russia has damaging information on Donald Trump, it’s not a big deal. Grassley thinks that it’s “improbable” that the allegations could hurt the incoming president because so much damaging information on Trump is already publicly available.
Grassley’s comments come after a unverified dossier, summarized in an annex of a report produced by U.S. intelligence officials, and made public Tuesday, claimed that the Russian government has been in secret contact with Trump for at least five years, building up enough material to blackmail him.
In an interview on Boston’s WBZ radio station, Grassley said that Russian involvement in the U.S. political process was wrong, but believed it was “improbable” that any allegations could “end up hurting Trump.”
“It seems to me that when you go back through the campaign and all the things that Trump said that ought to give him political problems and all the things that were caught on tape — that he would probably just as soon not have the world know about it — it’s kind of improbable to me that anybody who knows anything about Trump — that’s going to end up hurting Trump,” Grassley said. “And he was elected President of the United States.”
“[Trump]’s going to serve and if it’s a case of blackmail — I don’t know how you overcome blackmail — except just admit that you did something,” Grassley added. “And as long as it’s not a violation of law, you’ll get through it. If you’ve done something that violates law, obviously anybody that violates law has to be prosecuted for it if there’s a reasonable basis for pursuing that.”
On Tuesday, CNN released a report suggesting that the Russian government may have compromising material on the president elect. Buzzfeed News later published the explosive, but unsubstantiated allegations. Part of the unverified reports — which were based on information from Russian sources and a former British intelligence operative— alleged that Russian government operatives dealt with Trump’s advisers and employees at his company. Senior intelligence officials believed that the allegations were troubling enough that they summarized the allegations in a two-page addendum to the classified intelligence briefing which Trump attended last week.
When the allegations were made public Tuesday, Trump lashed out at intelligence officials and the media, calling it “fake news — a total political witch hunt” and asked, “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
As Grassley alluded to, Trump was elected president despite a flood of damaging information that was publicly released, including numerous women who accused Trump of sexual assault and a tape of Trump bragging about assaulting women.