- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2018

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Tuesday said it’s clear that Russia did interfere in the 2016 elections and that the country does not share the interests or values of the United States.

“They did interfere in our elections — it’s really clear. There should be no doubt about that,” Mr. Ryan told reporters.

He said Congress has passed sanctions in response and said he’d be willing to take a look at passing new ones.

The comments came a day after President Trump said he has confidence in his intelligence community, which has concluded Russia was involved, but that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “extremely strong and powerful” in denying involvement.

The Department of Justice also announced last week the indictment of a dozen Russian military officials, who are accused of hacking and stealing the emails of Democratic officials in 2016 and interfering in the U.S. presidential campaign.

Mr. Ryan said he understands the desire to build relations with other countries like Russia.

“But Russia is a menacing government that does not share our interests… it does not share our values, and I think that should be made very, very clear,” he said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia had at least a preference for Mr. Trump in the election against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, though a House Intelligence Committee report stopped short of drawing that conclusion.

Mr. Putin himself said Monday he wanted Mr. Trump to win.

Mr. Ryan said he thought there have been some mistakes made by the intelligence community, though he did not go into detail on those Tuesday.

“But let’s be clear, just so everybody knows: Russia did meddle with our elections,” he said.

Mr. Trump’s comments at a news conference with Mr. Putin Monday has drawn bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill lawmakers, who said he was effectively siding with the word of Mr. Putin over the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies.

Mr. Ryan said he did not agree with former CIA Director John Brennan’s likening Mr. Trump’s performance to “treason,” and said special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his work.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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