Hawley weighs in on Russia and tariffs

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MEXICO - Josh Hawley faced questions about President Donald Trump's summit with Russia as well as tariffs facing Missouri farmers at a campaign stop Tuesday.

Reporters asked Hawley about his reaction to President Trump going back on his statements Monday that Russia did not try to influence the 2016 election. 

Hawley said while he feels Russia did try and tamper with the 2016 election, the election was ultimately decided by American voters, not Russian hackers.

"I think the president was right earlier today to say he accepts the conclusions of the [U.S. intelligence] community, again, Russia has been trying to interfere in our country for a long long time now," Hawley said. "Russia is doing all kinds of bad stuff on the world stage but let's not let the subject be changed from the the fact that the real reason the media and the Democrats care about all of this is because of the 2016 election."
President Trump faced criticism Monday after saying he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he said Russia did not try and interfere with the 2016 election, going against the findings of the U.S. intelligence community.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) criticized the president in a press release Monday, calling his statement dangerous.
"I stand with my Republican colleagues who are calling out this unprecedented rebuke of our intelligence officers—most of whom are veterans of the United States military. Today’s actions will only embolden the enemies of our country and erode the support of our allies," she said.

But Hawley said he believes there's an ulterior motive for the the large amount of media coverage and outcry from Democrats.  

"It's really about the 2016 election and saying that the outcome was somehow illegitimate," Hawley said. "That is simply not true, there's no evidence to support that and I think quite frankly the American people and the American voters are tired of hearing about that." 

Hawley also faced questions about the tariffs enacted on the U.S. by other countries and how they have affected Missourians.

"I'm glad to have the president going out there and saying, 'We need a better deal for Missouri farmers and Missouri workers,'" he said."We've gotten the short end of the stick for years and years now, from China, from our so-called allies in the European Union, from Canada and from Mexico."

In a press release, McCaskill criticized the tariffs, highlighting their negative affect on Missourians.

“Missouri jobs and livelihoods are at stake—and I don’t understand the decision to escalate this trade war with no end in sight, risking critical foreign markets and doing lasting damage to Missouri’s economy,” McCaskill said. “It’s time to end this trade war and provide necessary relief for the thousands of Missouri jobs that are at risk.”  

Hawley said while he supports the president's goal, he said he wants to see what deal President Trump can actually get.

"Let's see if he's able to get a better deal for Missouri farmers. I won't support anything that leaves them worse off or that closes our markets," he said. 

Hawley toured Mid-America BioFuels in Mexico as a part of his 100-stop Work Tour, highlighting businesses providing jobs and support for their local communities.