Colorado’s senior U.S. senator, Michael Bennet, said Friday evening he’s having a hard time keeping up with all the news about President Trump and the Russians.
“You can’t turn around for 10 minutes,” he told a full sanctuary at Denver’s Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in his third town hall meeting of the day. “It’s going to drive us all crazy.”
Bennet was passionate and animated, frequently interrupted by applause and even once having to stop himself in the church sanctuary to apologize for letting slip a mild swear word. (“Hell” as in, “We should be doing a Hell of a lot better job” taking care of veterans.)
The Washington Post reported Friday that the investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives to sway the election includes a member of the president’s inner circle of White House advisers.
The New York Times reported Trump allegedly told Russian officials in a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office that firing FBI director James Comey the day before would relieve pressure from the investigation.
CNN reported Friday that Russians “bragged” during the campaign that Michael Flynn, the fired national security adviser, could be used to influence Trump.
A Hillary Clinton ally, Bennet said he had been concerned since the campaign, when Trump was deferential to Vladimir Putin and critical of the European Union and the NATO, positions the Russian leader might support.
“I found it absolutely shocking from the point of view of our national security and the security of our allies,” Bennet said.
He posed, “Can you imagine if President Obama did any of this stuff? And it’s a reflection of the double standard we have here, and we’ve got to apply not a double standard but an American standard.”
Bennet fielded questions during that hour-long town hall meeting that included Republicans’ American Health Care Act to replace Obamacare and Trump’s immigration proposals.
He said the Republicans’ health care plan, passed hastily by the House this month, must die in the Senate. The senator cited its $880 billion cut to Medicaid for the sake to tax cuts for the wealthy.
“If you set out to design a piece of legislation less responsive to the needs of Colorado, you couldn’t do it better than this bill,” Bennet said.
He recalled his work with the “Gang of Eight” to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill out of the Senate in 2013, turning his point to House Republicans and Trump’s immigration policies.
“And if (Speaker) Paul Ryan would have had the guts to do what the American people wanted him to do, it would have passed in the House of Representatives, and we wouldn’t have to go through the agony of what the Trump administration is doing,” Bennet said.
Despite an evening of expressing concerns and criticisms, Bennet began on an optimistic note.
“I’m as optimistic about the republic as I’ve ever been,” he said at the beginning.