Patterico's Pontifications

7/19/2018

President Trump Weighs Out Putin’s Offer Involving the Questioning Of Americans

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:44 pm



[guest post by Dana]

There was again some confusion yesterday about President Trump’s lack of clarity on the matter of Russia. During an interview, when asked whether he believes Russia is still targeting the U.S., the president allegedly answered, no. I say allegedly because to me there is some confusion in the video as to whether he was responding to that specific question. Even so, I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt because this comes a day after backpedaling on his comments in which he agreed with Putin over his own intelligence community that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 elections. So it’s not unreasonable to conclude that President Trump really does believe that Russia isn’t targeting the U.S. That would certainly be consistent with his naive/ignorant view of Russia, the adoration of strongman Putin and a disturbing tendency to throw his own people under the bus. Further, we have the statement of the journalist who asked the question:

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With that, it is being reported that President Trump is considering a quid pro quo deal made by Putin, involving the questioning of American citizens by Russian authorities:

At this week’s summit in Helsinki, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed what President Trump described as an “incredible offer” — the Kremlin would give special counsel Robert S. Mueller III access to interviews with Russians who were indicted after they allegedly hacked Democrats in 2016. In return, Russia would be allowed to question certain U.S. officials it suspects of interfering in Russian affairs.

One of those U.S. officials is a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, a nemesis of the Kremlin because of his criticisms of Russia’s human rights record.

Apparently, this is an offer the White House is taking seriously and one that is currently under review. When questioned about it, Sarah Sanders did not dismiss it:

“There was some conversation about it” between Trump and Putin, Sanders said, “but there wasn’t a commitment made on behalf of the United States. And the president will work with his team, and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.”

Yet more confirmation that President Trump and his administration have no idea with whom they are dealing, and unbelievably view former-KGB strongman Putin through gullible rose-colored glasses. After President Trump’s Helsinki comments, Dan Coates, the director of national intelligence, warned that, not only did Russia meddle in the 2016 election, but there is no reason why they won’t continue to do so:

“The role of the Intelligence Community is to provide the best information and fact-based assessments possible for the president and policymakers,” said Coats, who took over as U.S. director of national intelligence in March 2017. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security.”

Suggested American citizens for questioning by Russian authorities include Michael McFaul, a former American ambassador to Russia, and Christopher Steel

That the President of the United States would remotely consider not protectingAmerican citizens from Russian authorities for questioning, boggles the mind. Clearly:

“The entire country should be aware of this,” tweeted Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School. “If Putin can single out” McFaul, Nichols said, “he can single out anyone. The President’s job is to protect us, not to even *consider* handing any of us over to an enemy government.”

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Also, President Trump’s own State Dept. was critical of the proposal and the possible allowance of it:

In a news conference this week, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert called the idea of allowing the Russian government to interview American officials “absolutely absurd,” adding that allowing such a precedent “would be a grave concern to our former colleagues here.”

Interestingly, I started this post early this morning, but because it takes me so long time to complete a post, I am just now reading about this coincidentally timed turn of events:

The White House says President Trump opposes a proposal floated by Russian President Vladi­mir Putin that would allow Russia to interview American officials in exchange for making Russian authorities indicted in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe available for questioning.

The White House announced Trump’s opposition Thursday moments before the Senate voted 98 to 0 to approve a resolution telling the president not to honor Putin’s request, which would have exposed former U.S. ambassador Michael McFaul, among others, to Russian questioning.

“It is a proposal that was *made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”

*Are You Kidding Me??

–Dana

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