Sen. King: ‘No doubt whatsoever’ Russia interfered in election

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(CNN) — Sen. Angus King said Friday that the Senate intelligence committee investigation has yielded incontrovertible proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the Russians were behind an effort to interfere with our elections,” King said, speaking on CNN’s “New Day” just a day after the committee’s first public hearing on the matter.

“There’s no doubt this is a Russian pattern for years,” the Maine independent said. “(T)hey have been trying to do this kind of disinformation as part of their toolkit … they’re doing it right now in France and Germany.”

King was responding to a tweet from President Donald Trump on Friday in which he referred to the ongoing investigations into Russia’s efforts to influence the US election as a “a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss)” led by Democrats and the media.

In the tweet, Trump said his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, should seek immunity in exchange for his testimony to federal and congressional investigators in their probe.

Questions have swirled about the nature of Flynn’s ties to Russia and whether he violated any restrictions on contacts with foreign officials. He was forced to resign after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

In Thursday’s hearing, Senate investigators heard from experts on disinformation tactics — tools used by Russian operatives to disrupt elections in the United States and elsewhere.

“We are seeking to determine if there is an actual fire, but so far, there is a great, great deal of smoke,” committee vice chairman Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said in his opening remarks.