Merkley Reaction to Trump-Putin Summit

“President Trump is repeatedly siding with a dictator over his own government and allies. He has refused to hold Putin accountable for Russia’s attack on the United States during the 2016 presidential election, illegal annexation of Crimea, invasion of eastern Ukraine, poisonings on British soil, and other destabilizing actions. He went so far as to blame the United States rather than the raft of Russian violations of international law for deteriorating relations. Trump came out of their two-hour-long one-on-one meeting like a man utterly bewitched — embracing Moscow’s worldview and renouncing 70 years of American leadership of the free world.                                             

“The assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election is not open to debate. That is why we need a President who will be a watchdog for America, not a lapdog for Putin. Instead, President Trump refused to come down on the side of the U.S. government over the denials of Putin, a former KGB spy. Rather than confronting Putin on Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Eastern Ukraine, President Trump unacceptably faulted the United States for being ‘foolish.’ Face-to-face with a dictator in Putin who has imprisoned and killed journalists and ordered chemical weapon attacks against enemies, President Trump laid out a domestic enemies list of his own: the Democratic Party, the free press, and the FBI.

“President Trump’s warm embrace of Putin comes just days after President Trump’s frosty treatment of stalwart NATO allies as well as our special relationship with the United Kingdom. It is as dangerous as it is baffling for President Trump to side with a foreign adversary over our closest allies and our U.S. institutions responsible for safeguarding our security.”