Ranking Member Engel Discusses Russian Election Interference, State Department Cuts
WASHINGTON—Today on CNN, Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of House Committee on Foreign Affairs, unequivocally called for an independent commission to get to the bottom of the Russian election interference and discussed the detrimental effects of the President’s proposed one-third cut to the Department of State.
This comes on the heels of reports that 3,000 Russian-linked Facebook ads targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, reaching over 10,000 million on the platform, as well as reports of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s unhappiness with the Trump Administration.
Highlights from today’s CNN appearance:
“We’ve known for a long time now that there has been Russian meddling in our election. It’s clear the Russians wanted Donald Trump to get elected and this would fall in line with that pattern.”
“I think what we really have to look at in the ensuing days and weeks and months is was there any collusion from the Trump campaign with the Russians. Was this coordinated? And I hope that Mr. Mueller takes a good, hard look at this.”
“Because, it doesn’t matter who’s President or who’s not. I don’t want the Russians interfering in American democracy.”
“I think the public has an absolute right to know what was going on and an absolute right to know that the Russians are trying to subvert not only our elections but the controversy in the NFL, the problems in Charlottesville.”
“We now have evidence that the Russians have been trying to use those to go against the United States, to affect public opinion in the United States. And that’s really very, very dangerous.”
“And so again, the question is, not only does Russia do this, but is Russia doing this with anybody in America, in the Trump campaign, or any place else?”
“The State Department morale is at an all-time low. The President proposed a 1/3 cut across the board in the State Department. And, lots of positions are not being filled.”
“I don’t know how anybody could be happy in that position when you have a third of the positions cut and you have important positions that haven’t yet gotten filled.”
“Mr. Tillerson was the CEO of Mobil-Exxon—Exxon-Mobil—and number one man. I don’t know if it’s difficult for him to take orders because now he’s number one at the State Department but not number one in the whole scheme of things.”
“Donald Trump has shown a propensity to get involved in these things and not to let cabinet members who he nominated do their job. So I think it’s a combination of the two and you know, stay tuned. I am sure there will be a lot more yet to come.”
“I don’t know how he can again be happy presiding over a State Department that is you know, vastly curtailed, positions haven’t been filled. They talked a lot in this political campaign about Benghazi. They want to cut security at our embassies around the world by a substantial amount."
“And it is sort of letting the State Department you know wither on the vine. At the time they’re increasing funding for the Department of Defense, the Department of State, diplomacy, USAID, all these programs that hopefully prevent wars are given short [stick] by this Administration.”
“If you don’t like the Secretary, you know get rid of him. But if he’s going to have the job, let him do his job.”
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