July 05, 2018

Watson Coleman Calls for Heightened Congressional Scrutiny Ahead of Trump-Putin Summit

Recently we learned that President Trump is planning on holding one-on-one negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet in Helsinki on July 16.  In the midst of an ongoing investigation into Russia’s meddling into US elections – one which has already led to more than 20 indictments—such a meeting is profoundly inappropriate and dangerous.  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Chaired by Republican Richard Burr) has confirmed the U.S. Intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered with U.S. elections in 2016 and continues to do so.

More so, the Committee report released on July 3rd concurred with assessments that the Russian influence campaign was approved by President Putin.  Meanwhile, President Trump has regularly expressed deference to statements from the Kremlin as opposed to our own Intelligence agencies, throwing our own agencies under the bus at every chance he gets. Donald Trump refuses to put our nation above his fragile ego and glaring self-interest.

Donald Trump’s conduct and objectives are increasingly baffling. Any President who continues to deny the role Russia played in the 2016 election and sides with Putin over our own agencies is in no position to objectively negotiate on behalf of the United States.  International politics rest in a precarious balance.  These meetings are being held at a uniquely sensitive time. This President is currently being investigated related to his, his campaign, and his senior aides’ role in the very election meddling that he refuses to acknowledge.  We need someone negotiating on our behalf who fully grasps the threats on the world stage and is willing to make tough choices to protect the United States and its interests.  Sadly, President Trump is woefully unqualified and uniquely unfit for this task.

Vladimir Putin has been described by foreign policy experts as “a very disciplined negotiator.” I am actively exploring ways to prevent this President from being in a position to further capitulate to, be taken advantage of by, or even continue possible collusion with Mr. Putin. Congress has a responsibility to check this President and his Un-American conduct in order to protect the American people. Our democratic values and our credibility on the global stage are at stake. I intend to do everything in my power to do just that including calling on Oversight Committee Chair Gowdy as well as other relevant committee chairs to hold emergency hearings as soon as possible to get to the bottom of this situation.