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Do we need all 535 members of Congress to deal with Russia?" asked former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner. "Can some of them deal with some domestic issues?" (Screenshot: CNN)

Do we need all 535 members of Congress to deal with Russia?" asked former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner. "Can some of them deal with some domestic issues?" (Screenshot: CNN)

Nina Turner: While Congress Obsesses Over Russia, Americans Being 'Left Behind'

Voters in Flint, Michigan "wouldn't ask you about Russia and Jared Kushner," said Turner. "They want to know how they are gonna get some clean water and why some 8,000 people are about to lose their homes"

Lauren McCauley

Former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner is worried that Americans are being "left behind" because Congress and the media are seemingly consumed by "Russia, Russia, Russia."

During a panel discussion on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, Turner was asked about the latest revelations that President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner had attempted to establish "back channels" of communication with the Kremlin.

"How's this playing in Ohio?" asked guest host Dana Bash.

Turner responded: "No one in Ohio is asking about Russia."

"I mean, we have to deal with this," she continued, referring to the ongoing investigation into alleged election meddling. "We definitely have to deal with this. It's on the minds of the American people. But you want to know about people in Ohio—they want to know about jobs. They want to know about their children."

Turner, a vocal supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during his presidential campaign, said she has spoken with voters across the country and found widespread concern over domestic issues and feelings that they are not being represented by the dominant political class.

She said she was just in California where folks are currently pushing for a single-payer healthcare program. She said she also recently "talked to an African American baby boomer" living in Washington, D.C.. "Russia is not in his top five [concerns]," she said. "He thinks both parties are failing."

"I talked to a Gen Xer white male who is in the union," who she said would rather vote for a third party. "We are losing," said Turner, of the Democratic Party establishment. 

"The president should be concerned about this, all Americans should be concerned about this," she said, but added that "should we go to Flint, [Michigan] they wouldn't ask you about Russia and Jared Kushner. They want to know how they are gonna get some clean water and why some 8,000 people are about to lose their homes.

"We are preoccupied with this," Turner added, "it's not that this is not important, but every day Americans are being left behind because it's Russia, Russia, Russia. Do we need all 535 members of Congress to deal with Russia? Can some of them deal with some domestic issues?"

Watch below:

The remarks come as Republican senators are working to put together their version of the House healthcare bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would strip health insurance from 23 million people. Congress is also poised to begin debating Trump's budget, unveiled last week, which takes an axe to domestic spending, including essential social safety nets.

Turner is not the first to suggest that Congressional Democrats are jumping on the Russia controversy to avoid supporting populist economic solutions, such as Medicare-for-All.

As journalist David Sirota noted on Twitter Sunday:

He added: "'You'll have to wait till after the Russia probe for us to address millions not being able to afford healthcare' may not be a great message."


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