Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says President Trump missed multiple opportunities during the just-concluded talks with Russia to hold that nation responsible for attacks on our democracy.
Grassley says Russian President Vladimir Putin “is a liar” and is “no friend to the United States.” Referring to Trump, Grassley says “the president has made a lot of mistakes…in trusting Russia.” “Russia is an enemy,” Grassley says, “and most of the time since World War Two, I think it’s very clear that they are, but particularly once again under Putin.”
Following talks between the two nations’ leaders in Finland on Monday, Trump made it clear he accepted Putin’s denial that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Grassley remains unconvinced. “I think Putin is a liar and I think the president had a missed opportunity to very clearly tell them about the interference in our election,” Grassley says, “and if it continues, there’s going to be greater consequences than has already been bestowed upon Russia.”
Last Friday, the U.S. Justice Department indicted a dozen Russian agents for taking part in an alleged hacking scheme during the election. Grassley says Trump should have used the talks to ask for the transfer of those “criminals” so they can be brought to the U.S. to stand trial. Grassley says Trump should have challenged Putin and simply didn’t, a move that’s bringing harsh criticism of Trump from members of both parties.
“I hope when we learn more about what went on in the private sessions, if there’s any reports that come out and I hope that there will be reports, then maybe that will relieve some of our fears,” Grassley says, “but right now, he wasn’t tough enough.”