WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Rep. Anna G. Eshoo; Rep. Gerald E. Connolly; Rep. David N. Cicilline; and Rep. Gregory W. Meeks today slammed President Trump for openly considering an outrageous request from Russian President Vladimir Putin to let Russian investigators interrogate individuals—including former American diplomats and current U.S. government employees—on American soil. In a letter, the Members called on President Trump to publicly reject this proposal that would effectively allow Putin’s thugs to question known Russian critics in the United States.
The lawmakers wrote, “You had the opportunity to denounce this outrageous idea when you stood next to Mr. Putin earlier this week; instead, you praised it. Now you must make clear that you will not allow American citizens or anyone on American soil to endure interrogation or harassment at the hands of Putin’s thugs.”
Full text of the letter is below and can be found here:
Dear Mr. President:
We demand that you publicly reject President Vladimir Putin’s proposal for Russian “investigators” to interrogate individuals on American soil about so-called financial crimes in Russia. You had the opportunity to denounce this outrageous idea when you stood next to Mr. Putin earlier this week; instead, you praised it. Now you must make clear that you will not allow American citizens or anyone on American soil to endure interrogation or harassment at the hands of Putin’s thugs.
Vladimir Putin has now shown the world his enemies list, among them a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, and several other current and former US government officials.
Yesterday, your spokesperson gave the fabricated allegations against these individuals’ credibility by saying your Administration is considering Putin’s suggestion. This is utterly unacceptable. The United States does not hand over its esteemed diplomatic personnel to our adversaries. You must denounce this preposterous offer immediately.
The Russian “justice” system is a farce, subject to Putin’s political influence and interference. The Russian government under Putin has attempted to thwart investigations into its own criminal behavior at every turn. There is no such thing as an independent Russian judiciary or Russian investigative body. To suggest that the United States government would consider allowing Russian “investigators” to engage in any activity on American soil defies belief.
Each moment that passes without your resounding condemnation of this proposal further erodes the credibility of the Presidency’s sworn duty to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Rather than continuing to play into Putin’s hands, we urge you to hold accountable the autocrats running Russia for their complicity in violating human rights, international norms, and American law.
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