This statement from Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, strikes me as the right response from a Republican lawmaker:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has reviewed the 2017 [Intelligence Community] assessment and found no reason to doubt its conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos and discord in our society. They have beaten and harassed U.S. diplomats and violated anti-proliferation treaties. Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President. . . . Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies.
Did Trump and Putin collude? If there’s any evidence of that, Robert Mueller will tell us someday. Does Putin have any compromising material on Trump? I’m doubtful, but we may never know the answer to that.
Leave the fevered speculation to the talking heads and self-professed geniuses on Twitter. Focus on what’s known, and articulate the criticism of the Russian government that the president was unwilling to make today.