Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin said Monday he’s not sure of the specifics regarding former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s conversations with former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but he knows there were people within the White House trying to do “their best” to protect the country.
“They wanted the best information from our intelligence community, from our Department of Defense and the Department of State for the president to at least listen to and consider before making decisions,” Cardin told CNN.
“I think they were acting in the best interests of our national security, and it’s something we should applaud, their independence at trying to get that information to the president.”
However, he added, President Trump has “presented challenges” to people who want to serve the United States, Cardin added.
“You have people who might agree with what the president is trying to achieve but disagree with the methods he’s using and want to make sure he gets the best advice,” Cardin said.
“The president does not take that lightly, and it’s difficult to get his ear on important information.”
Trump also makes decisions through Twitter rather than in a “deliberative manner,” and that makes it “frustrating,” said Cardin.
He added that Trump is a “president that doesn’t really have a process to let you know the type of input you should have.”
Cardin also criticized the president’s attempts to call out former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for alleged improper dealings with Ukraine, as he himself is scrutinized by House Democrats for an alleged abuse of power involving that country.
“President Trump is pretty famous for doing that, and here you find Republicans that are now talking the same language,” Cardin told the network.
“This has been thoroughly vetted. There is nothing that is here that would affect the inquiry that the House is looking at right at this moment, so that’s clearly an effort to get some sensational type testimony to try to distract from the main allegations,” he added.