WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate
Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today after President
Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin and their joint press conference in
“I urged President Trump not to go through
with this ill-advised meeting because I thought he’d let Putin off the hook for
attacks on our democracy, which he did, in disastrous fashion.
“President Trump’s deference to Putin today
will lead to more Russian interference and cyber-aggression against us, our
allies, and partners.
“At times, President Trump sounded more like
Putin’s press agent than the President of the United States. Some of his
comments could have come straight from a Russian disinformation
operation. The propaganda, dissembling, and denials fit right into
Russia’s hybrid operations against us.
“By heaping praise on Putin, and accepting
Putin’s denials over the findings of U.S. intelligence on the world stage like
that, President Trump did real harm to America. It was truly a shocking,
dangerous break from the actions of past Presidents of both parties.
“It was disgraceful for President Trump to
wrongfully blame the U.S. as being responsible for the hostility between our
countries, rather than Russia’s blatant election interference, continued
cyber-attacks on America, and aggression against allies and partners.
“It was shameful for the President of the
United States to endorse Putin’s sham offer to have Russian operatives be a
part of the Mueller probe in exchange for Putin’s spies questioning U.S.
“This is the first time I can recall an
American President taking the word of a Russian autocrat over the word of his
own intelligence officials. Instead of listening to U.S. intelligence leaders
who explicitly told President Trump that the lights of Russian aggression “are
blinking red again,” he gave a green light to Putin to continue targeted cyber
attacks and election interference. These are not appointees of Barack
Obama or George W. Bush, these are the men and women that President Trump chose
to lead American intelligence and they’re telling him that the Russians are
continuing to do this and that they will keep doing it if they’re given the
opportunity, and the President’s giving them every opportunity.
“Today, Vladimir Putin can claim victory based
on what President Trump did not do at this summit: he did not condemn the
annexation of Crimea or aggression in Eastern Ukraine; nor did he condemn
Russian interference in the U.S. election, or Russian aggression in Europe, or
challenge Russian Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty violations.
“I urge my Republican colleagues to stand up
for the security and the integrity of our democracy and condemn President
Trump’s performance today. They need to do what President Trump would
not: speak out in the clearest and strongest terms in condemning Russia’s
attack on our democracy. Congress should also call on the President to
retract his statement endorsing Putin over the U.S. Intelligence community’s
assessment of Russian interference.
“And I urge the Trump Administration to
finally issue a comprehensive strategy to counter Russian malign influence, as
called for in last year’s NDAA.”