While Republican Congressman Mike Coffman of Aurora sees Russia as a big threat to national security, he doesn’t think the Russians altered the outcome of the presidential election.
That’s what he told callers in an hour-long telephone town hall Wednesday evening.
“Do I think that Russia’s involvement changed the outcome of the election? No, I don’t,” he said. “I think what they achieved, though, was to, I think, delegitimize our political system, which is their objective. And so I think they’re doing pretty good at that.”
Asked to rank North Korea, Russia and China in order of their threat to the nation, Coffman put them in that order with Russia clocking in at No. 2.
“I just think that they have such hybrid ways, they’ve developed such sophistication in undermining countries within their sphere of influence,” he said. “I think the last administration just didn’t stand up to them, I think, when we should have.”
But when it comes to formal investigations into potential ties to Russia and the administration or campaign of President Donald Trump, Coffman said he doesn’t trust members of a hyper-partisan Congress to conduct a capable probe.
He would rather the FBI do that.
“When we’re dealing with methods and sources in terms of intelligence, I just think that they are the best equipped to do it,” he said. “They’re certainly the least partisan to do it, they’re the most objective to do it whatever their flaws are. I’ve just got more confidence in them than I do in the Congress right now. So that’s where the investigation ought to be.”
The FBI, Coffman said, should finish its investigative work.
“They’re doing a criminal investigation, and then let’s see where it lands,” he said.
From between 6 p.m. and 7, Mountain Time, the fifth-term Republican took questions from callers, ranging from healthcare and immigration to transportation and veterans’ issues.
He said he is working on bipartisan legislation, called the Bridge Act, to extend DACA for three years and put it into permanent law. He said he does not support a single-payer healthcare system. He wants to see more transparency in the pharmaceutical industry.
He voted againstt a recent bill Trump is expected to sign allowing internet providers to sell private web data of online users.
“I don’t see how it can be justified,” he said.
Asked by one caller what could be done federally to alleviate state transportation issues like the Castle Rock area bottleneck on I-25, Coffman said he would like to scrap a federal prohibition that only allows states to toll for new construction. Colorado should have the option to put in toll roads and do revenue bonds, he told callers.
Asked when his constituents will be able to see him face-to-face in an actual town hall, he said he’s holding one on April 12 at 6 p.m. at the Anschutz campus. The details will go up on his website soon, he said.
“You’ll need to register for it,” Coffman said, adding that he wants to make sure his district residents have priority. “I think we’re going to have a lot of people who are interested.”