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Republicans seek to temper fallout from latest Russia bombshells

Republican lawmakers on Sunday tried to temper the impact of the latest bombshell reports involving President Trump Donald John TrumpFederal worker with diabetes says she can't afford to pay for insulin during shutdown Trump's disapproval rating higher since shutdown began: poll Iran moving toward nuclear fuel, top official says MORE and Russia, while their Democratic colleagues renewed calls to protect special counsel Robert Mueller Robert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE s investigation

The responses came after both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported new details about the weekend involving allegations of Trump's close ties with Moscow, sparking renewed concerns about the fate of Mueller's probe .

Then. Ted Cruz Rafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz condemns King's white supremacy remark: 'It was stupid' and 'he needs to stop' Julián Castro announces 2020 White House pray, swipes at Trump Oprah to interview Beto O'Rourke in Times Square next month MORE (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on NBC criticized Washington, DC's, focus on the Mueller investigation as out of touch with the rest of the country. [19659006] And Sen. Lindsey Graham Lindsey Olin GrahamDem senator: Border wall itself is not 'immoral' Trump targets Dems about DACA amid shutdown talks Both sides must compromise to the longest shutdown in our history MORE (RS.C.

James Brough James Brough James Brien James Comey James Brien ComeyBernstein: Trump's 'lies' are all about Russia. Dem Senator: Mueller needs to finish probe if FBI believed Trump might be working for Russia. Graham says he'll ask FBI director about whether or not Trump was working for Russia MORE that it opened and inquiry into whether the president was working for Russian interests.

And the Washington Post reported on Saturday that Trump has kept details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin fr to top officials in his administration, including withholding notes from an interpreter.

The White House dismissed the reports as "inaccurate" and defended Trump's record on Russia, while the president called the stories "insulting" and "ridiculous."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Michael ( Mike) Richard PompeoUS-backed forces in Syria say ISIS is a 'final moments' Pompeo: Rift between Qatar, allies threatening regional unity needed to counter Iran Pompeo: US withdrawal from Syria a 'tactical change' MORE would not directly address Trump a national security threat

Both parties on Sunday called for a closer look at Trump's behavior toward Russia, with Democrats and Republicans both saying Trump's actions against Russia. speak for themselves. However, Democrats argue that Trump has been soft on Russia while Republicans believe the opposite. Multiple GOP guests appearing on the Sunday show circuit pointed to the Trump administration's track record of levying sanctions against Moscow and expelling a number of Russian diplomats from the US if the president is tough on Russia

Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) on "Fox News Sunday" expressed skepticism with the accuracy of the Times report and suggested it provided more proof of bias at the FBI than evidence against Trump.

"I, for one, don" t trust what I read in New York Times, "he said, but added" if this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it. "Cruz said he would consider any corroborated allegations that emerge, but called it" premature "to attempt to record notes of the president's meetings with Putin.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Kevin Owen McCarthyMcCarthy to meet with Steve King about white supremacy remarks:" Action will be taken "King regrets" heartburn 'over white supremacist comment The Hill's Morning Report – Trump eyes wall money options shutdown hits 21 days MORE (R-Calif.) defended Trump's right to keep private the details of his meetings with Putin, suggesting on CBS's "Face the Nation "doing so was part of the president's strategy to build a relationship with a foreign leader.

"I know this administration. I know this Congress is very tough on Russia, and we will continue to be so, "he said." But I want this president to be able to build a relationship, even on a personal level with all the world leaders as well. "

However, Democrats on Sunday highlighted the president's call during the 2016 campaign for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton Hillary Diane Rodham ClintonObama 'new blood' remark has different meaning for Biden Democratic dark horses could ride high in 2020 Manafort developments trigger new collusion debate MORE 's emails; his public skepticism about the US intelligence community assessment that Russia was involved in the 2016 election; and his performance at a joint press conference with Putin last year in Helsinki. [19659006] “The right answer is… to protect the Mueller investigation at all costs, let it get to its end, make sure that the results are made public,” Sen. Tim Kaine Timothy (Tim) Michael KaineKaine The Hill's 12:30 Report: Giuliani says Trump team should be allowed to 'correct' Mueller report | Trump closer to declaring national emergency Congress approves back pay for federal workers MORE (D-Va.) Said on “Meet the Press.”

Sen. Mark Warner Mark Robert WarnerManafort developments trigger new collusion debate Hillicon Valley: House chair six emergency briefing on wireless industry's data sharing | AG nominee to recuse himself from AT & T-Time Warner merger | Dem questions Treasury, IRS on shutdown cyber risks Will 2019 be the year we finally stand up to China? MORE (D-Va.), The ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CNN that whether Trump ever worked on the Russians is "the defining question" of Mueller's investigation.

Then. Chris Coons Christopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSunday shows preview: Washington heads into multi-day shutdown Overnight Energy: Senators introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill | House climate panel unlikely to have subpoena power Trump officials share plan to prevent lead poisoning Flake to co-introduce bipartisan climate bill MORE (D-Del.) On Fox News maintained that the latest reports underscore the need to allow Mueller's investigation to reach "its logical conclusion." 19659006] The chairmen of the House committees on Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Intelligence have all said in the wake of this weekend's reports that they will look into Trump's relationship with Russia,

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel Eliot Lance EngelHouse Foreign Affairs chairman says committee will hold hearings on Trump-Putin relationship Maduro starts new term in Venezuela facing US sanctions, lack of legitimacy abroad MORE (DN.Y.) responded Saturday to the post story in his pledge for upcoming hearings.

The future of the Mueller investigation, which has thus implicated five forms Trump associates and more than 20 Russian nationals, is also sure attorney general nominee William Barr

Democrats have uniformly said they'd like guarantees from Barr that he will not allow interfer ence in Mueller's investigation.

"I mean, clearly he is a good lawyer. No question, "Sen. Dick Durbin Richard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDem demands for ironclad assurances from Barr on Mueller investigation ahead of confirmation hearings Durbin:" So many questions "about why Trump is" so chummy "with Putin Key Democrat says Graham's border-wall framework falls short MORE (D-Ill.), A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on "This Week."

"But when it comes to this delicate political situation , Bar Barr had given us some ironclad, rock-bottom assurances in terms of his independence and his willingness to step back and let Mueller finish his job, "Durbin said.

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