Thune: ‘There Has Been A Reluctance’ From Trump To Be Transparent On Russia

UNITED STATES - MAY 18: Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., leaves a briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the Capitol Visitor Center on the investigation of President Trump's campaign ties to Russia on May 18, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said Tuesday that Americans “deserve an explanation” from the Trump administration with regard to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and any other meetings Trump campaign officials may have had with representatives of the Russian government. He added that “there has been a reluctance” on the administration’s part to “get all the information out there.”

In an interview with Thune, CNN’s John Berman read from a Wall Street Journal editorial advocating for “radical transparency” as a defense against future Russia-related revelations.

“‘Release everything to the public ahead of the inevitable leaks,’” Berman read from the editorial. “‘That means every meeting with any Russian or any American with Russian business ties. Every phone call or email. And every Trump business relationship with Russians going back years. This should include every relevant part of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, which the President will resist but Mr. Mueller is sure to seek anyway.’”

Thune seemed to agree with the Journal’s editorial board.

“I think that the American people do deserve a full explanation of what happened in all these various meetings,” he said in reply. “I think that the Intelligence Committee here in the Senate is looking into that. The Mueller special counsel is looking into that. I think we’re going to get those answers in due time, but I think that more is better. To me, the administration is served by getting everything out there and being as transparent as they possibly can. Because, this issue, in order for it to go away, I think that is the best way to just cleanse it, and get it out there, and let the American people decide.”

“More transparency is good,” he added.

“More transparent than they are now?” Berman asked.

“I think there has been a reluctance for whatever reason, I think, by the administration, in some cases, to get all the information out there, and I think they’re well served to do that, frankly,” Thune replied. “My guess is that they’ll probably find — and the intelligence committees and the others that have looked at this have not found any evidence of collusion to this point, and I think that the administration would be able to turn that page and move forward and focus on other things if they would get this issue behind them. And I think that that sort of transparency would enable that to happen.”