(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday that despite recent reports that Russia may have interfered with the presidential election, it should be noted that President-elect Donald Trump “got 70 percent in eastern Kentucky,” and it had nothing to do with Russia.
“I will tell you, though, that Donald Trump got 70 percent in eastern Kentucky and I don't think it had anything to do with the Russians. He got 70 percent because in eastern Kentucky we didn't like what President Obama or Hillary Clinton wanted to do to our coal jobs. It didn't have anything to do with the Russians,” Paul said.
“Let's begin with this issue of Russia,” Stephanopoulos said. “We have President-elect Trump out there this morning calling the CIA assessment that Russia was trying to help elect him ridiculous. He also questions -- says he doesn't believe the earlier findings of all 17 intelligence agencies that Russia was trying to get involved in our elections. You just heard Reince Priebus there as well. What do you make of all that?”
“You know, I think we need to get to the bottom of it, and I think there should be an investigation because in order to defend ourselves against other adversarial countries, we have to protect our information, but one of the things that came out of the campaign, as I recall, was a high ranking Clinton official, I believe, sent their password via email,” Paul noted.
“We also need to learn how to protect our own information, and I think that's important as well, but I will tell you, though, that Donald Trump got 70 percent in eastern Kentucky and I don't think it had anything to do with the Russians,” Paul said. “He got 70 percent because in eastern Kentucky we didn't like what President Obama or Hillary Clinton wanted to do to our coal jobs. It didn't have anything to do with the Russians.
Stephanopoulos said no conclusions were drawn “about whether or not it affected the outcome of the election.
“They weren't drawing that conclusion at all,” he said, “but what do you do -- and you're a member of the Senate foreign relations committee -- what do you do as you continue to investigate this if the evidence continues to pile up that Russia was trying to influence our elections? How should the U.S. respond? Stephanopoulos asked.
“You know, I think it's a little premature to talk about response until we know exactly what happened, but we should know what happened, and we should know how to defend ourselves without question,” Paul said.
“This is an ongoing threat from a variety of sources around the world, and actually I think it works both ways. I'm not privy to it, but I think all of the various country that have the ability are invading each other's computers all the time, but we have to protect our data. It's very important,” he added.