House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) called out Trump after he refused to say with certainty that Russia was behind the 2016 election hacking as a man who is too weak to stand up to Putin.
After Trump once again refused to blame the Russians for the election hacking, Rep. Schiff said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
The President’s comments today, again casting doubt on whether Russia was behind the blatant interference in our election and suggesting – his own intelligence agencies to the contrary – that nobody really knows, continue to directly undermine U.S. interests. This is not putting America first, but continuing to propagate his own personal fiction at the country’s expense.
President Trump must have the courage to raise the issue of Russian interference in our elections directly with President Putin, otherwise the Kremlin will conclude he is too weak to stand up to them. That would be a historic mistake, with damaging implications for our foreign policy for years to come.
He should also confront Russia over its continued destabilization of Ukraine, and the illegal annexation and continued occupation of Crimea and parts of Georgia. He should make it clear that the U.S. is not going to make common cause with Russia in propping up Bashar al-Assad in Syria, nor turn a blind eye to any potential Russian support of the Taliban or increased trade with North Korea.
When Trump refuses to blame Russia for the hacking of the 2016 election, he sounds like a co-conspirator with Putin. Seventeen intelligence agencies have said that Russia was behind the hacking, so when Trump takes Putin’s side, he is discrediting his own intelligence community.
Putting aside the question of Trump’s guilt or innocence on Russia collusion, Rep. Schiff is correct. When the President doesn’t use strong language to condemn Putin’s actions, he is sending the signal to Russia that he is a weak pushover who can be steamrolled by US adversaries.
Trump has made America weak and vulnerable to attack, just like Putin wanted.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association