Lawmakers look to punish Russia while Trump's ties questioned
The concerns over Russia and its possible role in the presidential election have lawmakers in Washington fighting back.
A bipartisan group of ten senators have joined together on a bill to punish Russia for interfering with the election and stirring trouble in Europe.
The legislative action comes at the same time as President-Elect Donald Trump held his first press conference since the summer and said for the first time he believes Russia was behind the hack of the DNC.
"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia," Trump said. "But we also get hacked by other countries, and other people."
Trump rejected recent reports about his cozy ties to the Kremlin.
"If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what, folks, that's called an asset, not a liability," he said. "Now, I don't know that I'm going to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do. But there's a good chance I won't."
Sen. Rob Portman said he believed Russia tried to influence the U.S. election but stopped short of saying that effort was designed to help Trump as U.S. intelligence reports have said.
"They've been bad actors in that sense," Portman said of the Russians.
Portman joined several senior senators proposing a bill to freeze assets and ban visas among other sanctions against Russia. Portman said he hoped Trump's ties to Vladimir Putin could help convince the Kremlin to stop acting out.
"That can be good or bad," Portman said. It can be an asset or a liability depending on how he uses that relationship."
Portman is also on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That committee grilled Trump's nominee for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He was questioned about his friendly relationship with Putin as well.