Democratic Rep. Norma Torres (CA), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Friday that she believes Russian President Vladimir Putin may have blackmail on President Donald Trump – a conspiracy theory that is so fringe that even CNN repeatedly challenged her on the claim.
CNN’s Brianna Keilar asked, “I wonder how concerned you are that Putin was able to influence not just through sort of Russian meddling and trying to persuade voters or Americans, but actually to influence the president in a way that has him picking what Putin’s saying over his own Intel community?”
“I think after the 2016 elections, the gloves were really off when it came to Vladimir Putin’s influence with President Trump and the GOP,” Torres responded. “Because let’s not forget, the GOP continues to parrot, not only on the floor, but also going onto Fox News, all of the things, the lies that Putin continues to spread, blaming and deflecting everyone else on his interference in our U.S. Elections.”
“Why do you think the president was such an easy target for Putin here?” Keilar pressed.
“I am afraid that Vladimir Putin may have something on the president, and it is the reason why the president has continued to play the handmaid to Vladimir Putin, inviting him to the White House and opening the doors and not having any advisers present, taking the notes from the interpreter and continuing to talk to him and continuing to parrot everything that he tells him,” Torres responded. “Russia is no friend of the U.S. They have never been a friend to us. They continue to compromise us internationally; they continue to attack our friends and our allies overseas. So, we have to be very careful, and we have to keep a close eye on how this continues to evolve.”
“You said you think that Putin may have something, meaning compromising information – Kompromat, as it’s said in Russia – on President Trump? Do you have proof of that?” Keilar pressed. “Is there something specific that you’re thinking of when you say that?”
“Well, there is no other reason why President Trump continues to capitulate to what Putin is telling him. He doesn’t do that with anyone else,” Torres responded. “He doesn’t do that with his advisers. He doesn’t do that with his American ambassadors who are providing him information, who have told him time and time and time again, national security advisers, that this is nothing but Russian propaganda that he continues to not believe our own intelligence over Putin.”
Democrat Rep. Norma Torres of California, who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, promotes a conspiracy theory on CNN that Putin has blackmail on President Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/oghB1NNYJY
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) December 21, 2019
Keilar continued to press Torres by falsely suggesting that Trump’s election victory might not have been “legitimate,” and asked if that could be a reason to explain Trump’s behavior. Keilar failed to note that the Trump administration has been more aggressive toward Russia than any administration in recent memory and that Trump has repeatedly provided lethal weapons to Ukraine.
“No, I think it was – we are beyond 2016’s election,” Torres said. “I was present on January 20th to see President Trump take the oath of office. And I was there because I believe in the rule of law, because I believe in a peaceful transfer of power. So we are beyond 2016. The fact that this President of the United States continues to depend on Russia to win the next election that he has coming, asking not only Russia, but asking Ukraine and China openly on TV to investigate his political opponents who could be challenging him, and who absolutely have an opportunity to win in this next election, I think is unconscionable. We have to work toward securing our elections, and not only has President Trump blocked us from securing our elections, Republicans in Congress have also done that.”