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VOL. 132 | NO. 151 | Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Kustoff Says Russian Influence Not An Issue With Constituents

By Bill Dries

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Republican U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown says there is a “media bias” against President Donald Trump and that he doesn’t hear a lot from constituents about possible Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election or beyond the election.

“I don’t hear one person talking about Russia,” Kustoff said Tuesday, Aug. 1, in a speech at the Memphis Rotary Club luncheon.

He was responding to questions about the level of political discourse in Congress and Trump’s remarks on the Russian investigation. Kustoff faulted cable television coverage focused on alleged Russian influence.

“You would think that in Congress all we hear about, all we deal with is Russia,” he said. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time. I pay very little attention to Russia because frankly if anything is going wrong or has gone wrong it is being investigated. It’s being investigated by the House. It’s being investigated by the Senate.”

Kustoff’s speech at the luncheon at The Bluff on Highland was picketed by a group of about a dozen protesters pushing for a town hall meeting with him during the August Congressional recess.

As Kustoff was in Memphis, a new book by Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona excerpted in Politico accused fellow Republicans in Congress of having “tremendous powers of denial” about the level of dysfunction in Trump’s White House, which he refers to as a government “dysfunctional at the highest levels.”

Flake includes himself in the observation saying he has been sympathetic to the reaction.

“But it was also a monumental dodge,” Flake added. “It would be like Noah saying, 'If I spent all my time obsessing about the coming flood, there would be little time for anything else.' At a certain point, if one is being honest, the flood becomes the thing that is most worthy of attention. At a certain point, it might be time to build an ark."

Asked about the observation, Kustoff said, “I think generally, the president has done a good job these past seven months.”

He focused on Trump’s nominations.

“In the House we are focused on getting things accomplished,” Kustoff added, saying he had not had a chance to read the book excerpts.

Kustoff said he hopes the House and Senate will focus next on tax reform and getting tax cuts like the Reagan tax cuts of the mid-1980s enacted by the end of the year.

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