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Lawmakers laugh off Putin’s offer to provide evidence

As a parade of lawmakers appeared on television Wednesday morning to discuss the latest turmoil emerging from the White House, another piece of news broke: Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered to provide U.S. Congress a transcript of President Trump’s meeting with Russian envoys to prove that no classified secrets were divulged.

Putin’s offer was quickly brushed off — even laughed off — by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

“I wouldn’t put much credibility on what Putin’s notes are,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on Fox News.

He added: “And if it comes in an email, I wouldn’t click on the attachment.”

In an appearance on CNN, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wondered if the latest development was part of some Russian plot to undermine confidence in democracy.

“The idea that we would accept any evidence from President Putin is absurd,” she said, smiling.

This seemed to be the one point Republicans and Democrats could agree on, immediately, Wednesday morning.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) chuckled as CNN host Chris Cuomo asked what he made of Putin’s “generous” offer.

“I think the last thing the president needs right now is Putin vouching for him,” Schiff told Cuomo. “All of this just gets more and more baffling every day, but I don’t think we should allow it to distract us from the very serious allegations.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said any evidence Putin wanted to provide probably wouldn’t have much credence on Capitol Hill.

“I don’t talk to murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin, so Putin’s word to me doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Kinzinger said on CNN.

The latest on Trump, Comey and Russia: How key Washington players are reacting

The White House is searching for a new FBI director, after President Trump dismissed James Comey from that post May 9. Since the firing, The Washington Post broke the news Monday that Trump shared highly classified intelligence with Russian officials. And Tuesday, the New York Times reported and other outlets confirmed that Trump asked the FBI to drop its probe into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and pursue leak cases.

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