Resolution Affirms Opposition to Putin’s Proposal
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) released a statement on July 19, 2018, after the U.S. Senate voted to pass a resolution affirming the Congress’ opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to question current and former U.S. officials.
“It is outrageous that President Putin’s proposal was not met with immediate dismissal,” said Sen, Schatz. “With this vote, the Senate has sent a message that is free from all ambiguity. Americans will not be handed over to Putin on our watch. Those who serve our nation do not answer to the Russian president, and they have the support of a thankful nation.”
The resolution was introduced by Sen. Schatz, along with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey). It passed by a unanimous vote of 98-0.
Earlier this week in Helsinki, President Trump expressed openness to a Putin request to question former US Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and other Americans, calling the request part of “an incredible offer.” On July 18, the Trump Administration again refused to rule the request out.
The full text of the Senate Resolution::
Expressing the sense of Congress against the making available of current and former diplomats, officials, and members of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin.
Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that the United States should refuse to make available any current or former diplomat, civil servant, political appointee, law enforcement official, or member of the Armed Forces of the United States for questioning by the government of Vladimir Putin
“We need to send a message to American diplomats, Russian official, and any White House official who is confused about where Congress stands on this issue,” Sen. Schatz said. “The Congress must be unified in our resolve to protect the people who serve our nation, and safeguard our democracy, our rule of law and our national security.”
“That President Trump would even consider handing over a former U.S. Ambassador to Putin and his cronies for interrogation is bewildering,” said Leader Schumer. “No president should have the power to gift wrap American citizens, let alone former ambassadors, to our known adversaries. If the president ever agreed to such a request, Congress must do everything in its power to block it.”
“It is outrageous that Russian prosecutors would seek to question a former U.S. Ambassador. The White House should have immediately said they would never turn over a U.S. Ambassador to the Russians,” said Senator Menendez. “So Congress must act swiftly to make clear that we will not tolerate President Trump’s decision to take Putin at his word instead of supporting patriots like Ambassador Mike McFaul, who served our country honorably and with distinction.”
“As we watch our own American president threaten to weaken the greatest modern military alliance of all time, bully our closest allies, cozy up to a foreign dictator, and talk in circles about his deeply troubling actions, President Trump is now considering allowing Russian investigators to question the former U.S. Ambassador to Russia. If this happens, this American president will once again be helping further the policies of a former communist KGB official against American interests. This is simply unacceptable and beyond the pale,” Senator Durbin said. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution and call for its immediate passage.”