Rep. Steve King (R-IA) defended President Donald Trump's recent praise of Vladimir Putin, noting that the Russian president had not killed a famous dissident, Garry Kasparov, who fled to New York City.
During an interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Trump dismissed the murder of journalists in Russia, arguing that the United States was not "so innocent" either.
King told CNN on Sunday that Trump's critics were overreacting.
"I don't think his words came out very well," he explained. "I agree that there is no a moral equivalency between the United States and Russia, although when I listened to one of the senators that said Putin is against freedom of religion, he's actually been opening things up for the expansion of especially the Russian Orthodox Church."
"They're not much for freedom of the press," King admitted. "But since, I would say, [chess champion and Putin opponent] Garry Kasparov, now he lives in the United States but he lived for a long time in Russia and had a very loud megaphone against the regime and he's still alive and well."
"Donald Trump has played a complex gambit in the Art of the Deal, and so I say, let's see how this comes out."
King also backed Trump's claim that 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally.
"For anyone to say that there's zero evidence [of voter fraud], what can that possibly mean?" he opined. "How would they have been able to scan all information available and come to the conclusion that it's completely devoid of any evidence whatsoever. It might be they are not aware of any or they don't want to admit to any evidence."
Repeating an argument he first made on MSNBC last month, King said that he had "extrapolated" voter fraud calculations from "surveys" of several counties in Virginia.
"I took the data that was available and the survey that took place primarily in Virginia and just did a little calculation and came up with what was a calculation," he remarked. "I figured it out. There was an extrapolation that said, what could the scope of this be? And what we've seen in the survey of the people that confessed to be illegally voting in the state of Virginia, you extrapolate that across the country, given the data that's available, what could we conceivably be talking about? And I came up with a number of 2.5 million [illegal votes]."
"And by the way, in defense of extrapolations, polling is an extrapolation and TV ratings are extrapolations," King added. "So I think that's in the zone. Let's find out with some more solid data. It's too important to turn a blind eye to it."