U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says he’s “highly concerned” about Russia and its interference in the election, but wants to let congressional committees handle the investigation at this time.
Johnson appeared Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. The interview was taped Friday, before President Trump raised unsubstantiated allegations that President Obama the Trump phones during the closing months of the election.
Gousha asked Johnson if he was concerned about reports people associated with the Trump campaign had contacts with Russian officials.
“I really do believe the appropriate venue at this point in time are the Senate and House intelligence committees,” Johnson said. “Those are being run in bipartisan fashion. Let them do their oversight, let’s see if there is something that actually needs to be referred to the Justice Department for, potentially, prosecution, but we’re not there yet.”
“I’m going to reserve my judgment until their finish their report,” Johnson said.
Johnson said Attorney General Jeff Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself from any future investigation of the president’s campaign.
“I don’t think he has a dishonest bone in his body,” Johnson said about Sessions. “Just a person of integrity.”
Johnson also said a Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could be ready “within the next month and a half.”
Johnson said Obamacare, as the ACA is also known, is close to 20 million words of rules and regulations that have “infiltrated every nook and cranny of our healthcare system.”
“It’s incredibly complex. There’s nothing easy about this,” he said.
In a year that has seen sometimes angry or chaotic town hall meetings for members of Congress, Johnson defended his recent use of telephone town hall meetings with constituents, saying it allowed him to reach more people.
But he said he will be holding future public town hall meetings, and noted one he just did in northwestern Wisconsin.
“Last weekend I was in Altoona, at an Islamic center up there and we had the basement filled. Not a whole lot of supporters. It was very respectful. I enjoy those exchanges,” he said, adding that he held 73 town halls during his first term.
“I’ll continue to do them,” he said.
Also on the program, newly elected Democratic National Committee Secretary Jason Rae of Milwaukee said the party needs to return to a “grassroots approach.”
Rae was elected, along with former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez as DNC chairman.
“I think the party right now really needs to focus and return to a real grassroots approach,” Rae said. “And really making sure that we’re energizing and organizing on the local level, particularly in rural communities, particularly with millennials.”
Rae said he ran for secretary with a goal to “open up the party and make the party more transparent and more engaging.”
“I think that will go a long way in bringing folks into the party and helping us win elections,” Rae said.
Rae also said he thinks the party is coming together after an election cycle that saw divisions between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
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