Richard Haass: There's 'something odd' about the way Trump views Russia

Key Points
  • The Council on Foreign Relations president questions why there's a "somewhat benign view of Russia in the world" by the Trump administration.
  • Haass says he does not know which narrative to believe concerning Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Something's 'odd' about protection of US-Russia relationship: Richard Haass

A comprehensive investigation is needed on allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. election and possible Trump campaign ties to Moscow, former diplomat Richard Haass said Thursday.

"There's something odd, I've got to tell you, about this protection of this U.S.-Russia relationship from the get-go — from the campaign through the transition through the first four months of the administration," the president of the Council on Foreign Relations told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Haass, who served in government over decades advising Republicans on foreign policy, said he does not know which narrative — incompetence or pushing too hard on Russia — to believe concerning President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.

But Haass added: "There's been a sanguine or somewhat benign view of Russia in the world — a kind of discounting of the use of cyber as a tool. And you've got to ask why that is?"

Advocating an investigation to find out, Haass left open whether he thinks Congress or an independent prosecutor should take the lead. But the important questions that to be answered, according to Haass: "What is motivating this president, this administration vis-a-vis Russia? Why are they treating the former head of the FBI this way?"

From 2001 to 2003, Haass was a principle advisor to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, and from 1989 to 1993 a special assistant to then-President George H.W. Bush. He served in the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.