Sen. Corker talks about Syria, Russia, and elections - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Sen. Corker talks about Syria, Russia, and elections

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5) (SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Governor or Congress? That's the decision Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) is facing. But while he makes the decision about his political future, he is addressing issues that have many Americans talking.

The question as to if he should run for re-election for a third term in the United States Senate, where he's Foreign Relations Committee chairman, or should see see the Tennessee Governor seat?

Both of these races are up next year and Corker said he has not decided which one he will choose.

At this time, he's focusing on the crisis in North Korea as well as Vladimir Putin.

Corker was greeted outside the Hilton Hotel with protest signs demanding an independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

He said he prefers the Senate Intelligence committee probe into Putin's cyber attacks on the presidential race.

"The fact that you and I are sitting here in Memphis, Tennessee are talking about Putin and talking about the affect he's having on the election process: he's winning," Corker said. "Because it causes people, obviously, to question whether elections are fair."

Corker said the actions of Russia influenced the thinking of voters during the election.

"Obviously we know of no tampering with the actual vote, but did they do things to try to affect people's thinking about candidates? I don't think there's any question that they did and they're doing that in other places also."

As part of his position as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Corker travels the world and has seen the impact of Putin's relentless propaganda campaign on elections in Europe and elsewhere. 

On the showdown over North Korea's nuclear arsenal, Corker said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sees nuclear weapons as a security blanket.

"If he has the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States, then he will die as an old man in his bed," Corker said. "In other words, he looks at nuclear weapons as his security."

Corker said the U.S. has prepared contingency plans based on North Korea's next moves and he hopes pressure from the U.S. and China can help create an environment for diplomacy. 

"I'm actually glad to see us amping up the pressure," Corker said. "I do hope and believe this is the case: that those that are involved in this integrally understand we're talking about something that could draw in Russia, China, Japan, South Korea. We need to be very careful, we need not to go over the top."

Corker said he supports bringing Assad in Syria to justice, but doesn't believe the toppling of the entire government would be the best outcome.

"I personally believe that he has lost his legitimacy," Corker said. "I hope the world community will find a way to put him behind bars for the crimes he's committed against humanity. What we don't want to have happen though is the government, the whole government, is toppled."

As for President Donald's Trumps tweets, Corker said he doesn't think that is the way it should be done.

"I'm not a fan of diplomacy by tweeting," Corker said. "Diplomacy is too numanced for 140 characters."

Corker said he has shared his thoughts on Trump's tweeting with the people who surround him at the White House. 

As for Corker's own political future, he indicated he's leaning toward running for re-election to his senate seat but he did not rule out a run for governor.

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