Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, says she has seen no evidence so far of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, but Sen. Angus King, who also sits on the panel, says it’s too soon to say.

Maine’s two U.S. senators commented on the investigation during appearances Sunday morning on national television news shows.

“I have not seen any evidence of collusion and lots of evidence that the Russians interfered in the elections,” Collins, a Republican, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, was interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union.” He told host Jack Tapper that it is not widely agreed, as President Trump has asserted, that there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

“It is not commonly agreed in our committee. I don’t think there is any basis for that statement,” King said.

King said the committee has another six months of work until it reaches its conclusions, but it is already clear that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, continues to meddle in U.S. politics and will continue to do so. King said the Russians are also meddling in politics in Spain and Scotland.


“This is a really serious problem, and all the excitement about the collusion issue has obscured the larger issue that our country was, is and will be under attack,” King said.

Collins said she would like the committee to call back Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz now that it has become clear that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for an opposition research dossier on Trump. Podesta and Schultz earlier denied knowledge of any payment under questioning by the committee.

“It is difficult to imagine a campaign chairman would not know of an expenditure of this magnitude, but maybe there is something more going on here,” Collins said.

Addressing Republican disagreements with Trump, Collins called Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who castigated Trump in a speech last week while announcing his decision not to run again, one of her best friends in the Senate. She said she was sorry that he was leaving the Senate but she will continue to try to work toward compromise.

“I think we need to accept that Donald Trump is our president and my approach is to work with my fellow Republicans, with Democrats, with House members and this administration. That is the only way we are going to get things done in this Congress and the only way to assure the American people they can have trust in their government,” she said.

On tax cuts, Collins said she is encouraged that the Senate’s tax reform package is simpler, fairer and more pro-growth than the existing tax code.


“If we have just a four-tenths of 1 percent increase in our GDP, it will cover the cost of the tax reform package,” she said.

On CNN, King reacted to news reports that indictments have been filed as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. King said he cannot speculate about who will be indicted or how many indictments there will be. He said Mueller is focusing on criminal wrongdoing while his committee is focused on what the Russians did.

“We are on parallel tracks but not the same track,” King said.

King said that despite Republican calls for Mueller to step down, he sees no reason for Mueller, whose appointment was widely praised across the political spectrum, to recuse himself.

“It is really important (that he stay) because the public has to have confidence in the results,” King said.

King also said questions raised by House Republicans over the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia’s atomic energy agency approved by the Obama administration in 2010 should be answered.


“The House already has something underway,” he said.

On tax cuts, King said he wished the process would move from behind closed doors and that Democrats and Republicans could come up with a tax cut deal together.

“I think there is a deal there. Hopefully that is the direction (it will go) instead of trying to jam down a massive tax cut that will only add to our kids’ deficits,” he said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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