Russian Federation dismisses US Crimea declaration

Glen Norman
July 27, 2018

And Pompeo went on the offensive to stress steps Trump has taken to show resolve against the Kremlin, stepping into a white-hot spotlight during a three-hour grilling by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The White House has announced that Putin has been invited to Washington for another meeting later this year, even as Pompeo lamented that Congress was unimpressed with Trump's unprecedented determination to push back against Russia's "malign behavior around the world". Markey said he fears the "being taken for a ride".

This came amid the backlash over Trump's performance at a news conference with Putin following their Helsinki summit, and many members of Congress had objected to them meeting again in the fall.

But The Washington Post and CNN later reported that the omission appeared to be due to a technical issue.

Congressional leaders in Trump's Republican Party were quick to stress that the Russian strongman was not welcome in the US Capitol.

In an earlier interview with CBN News, Pompeo had made similar emphatic clarifications about Trump and Russian Federation.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin aide, acknowledged receiving the invitation but declined to say whether Mr. Putin would visit Washington this year.

He strongly believes that now is the time for direct communication, our relationship in order to make clear to President Putin that there is the possibility, however remote it might be, to reverse the negative course of our relationship.

The relations between Washington and Moscow have been strained over Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the poison attack of an ex-Russian spy in Britain, and Russia's alleged meddling in U.S. 2016 elections.

That was on display this week when, during a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, multiple lawmakers asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for more details about the summit. "I think President Putin knows that better than anyone, certainly a lot better than the media".

"Is there some strategy behind creating doubt in USA senators' minds, on both sides of the aisle, doubt in the American people as to what his motivations are?" added Corker, a frequent critic of Trump.

The hearing also provided the first opportunity for lawmakers to ask Pompeo about Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. The declaration appeared to try to quell suggestions that Washington could accept Moscow's 2014 occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula following a U.S. -Russia presidential summit last week.

Trump has not hidden his disdain for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, regularly referring to it in public comments and on Twitter as a "witch hunt".

"We are engaged in patient diplomacy, but we will not let this drag out to no end", Pompeo said. This Crimea declaration formalises United States policy of non-recognition, he said.

But the top Democrat in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer, tweeted that many Americans can only wonder if "the only possible explanation for this risky behaviour is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump". And he called for Russian Federation to respect principles it claims to respect and "end its occupation of Crimea". Pompeo told senators that US sanctions imposed in response to the annexation would remain in place until and unless Russian Federation returns Crimea to Ukrainian sovereignty.

"We know the worth of these "fateful declarations", Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakarova said in a sarcastic comment on Facebook.

Pompeo said Trump was "very clear" with Putin about United States positions.

Maddow defended herself Wednesday in a series of tweets, saying the Post report offered "one possible explanation" for why the White House transcript and video did not include Putin saying he wanted Trump to win in response to Mason's first question.

Corker agreed, stressing he hoped Pompeo was "in the loop" and briefed on the details of the Helsinki tete-a-tete.

Walsh said the original comments were "unforgivable" and that he supported the president on many things but the Russian Federation election meddling issue is "more important than any policy issues".

In his opening remarks, Corker declared that senators have "serious doubts" about how the administration carries out foreign policy and suggested the White House "is making it up as they go".

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