WASHINGTON – The Trumpet administration sought to fend off accusations of the president is too soft on Russia on Wednesday to discard a proposed second summit with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and declared that the U.S. will never recognize Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea.
As members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee peppered Secretary of state Mike Pompeo with questions about the past week is the top in Finland, the White House said President Donald Trump had chosen against that try to get with Putin this fall. Putin already had signals that the White House meeting was not going to happen.
National security adviser John Bolton cited special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election as the reason for the delay, although many members of Congress had objected to the meeting and said Putin would not be welcome on Capitol Hill.
“The President is of the opinion that the next bilateral meeting with President Putin should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we have agreed that this will be after the first of the year,” Bolton said in a statement, using Trump’s preference, but highly controversial term for the Müller-elektronik gmbh & probe.
While the declaration signaled optimism that the Müller-elektronik gmbh & probe would be completed by the end of this year, no timetable is given for when it will be packed and it would be very good piece in 2019.
The White House said last week that Trump had directed Bolton to invite Putin on a visit in Washington in the autumn, soon for a follow-up meeting in the middle of the play on Trump’s performance at a press conference with Putin following their summit in Helsinki.
In his testimony, Pompeo faced often controversial questions of the senators of demanding information about what He discussed with Putin while they were alone nearly two hours with only translators present.
Pompeo effort to fend off these questions, to urge the president has a right to their own meetings, but emphasized that he had a full understanding of the discussion. Heated questions were also asked about North Korea, NATO and Iran.
“It is not for me to reveal the contents of those conversations,” Pompeo said in response to a barrage of questions.
The chairman of the commission, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., set a controversial tone for the hearing.
“You come for a group of senators who today are filled with serious doubts about this White House and the conduct of American foreign policy,” Corker said Pompeo at the start. Later he added: “From where we sit, it seems that the White House is waking up every morning and making it up as we go.”
The ranking member, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N. J., was no less heavy, accusing the administration of holding “inconsistent and contradictory positions” on foreign policy and the president himself as “misleading and false” in describing his positions.
In an attempt to stave off a number of hostile questions, especially in Russia, Pompeo before the hearing a statement issued with the title “the Crimea Declaration”, in which he said that the U.S. will continue to insist that Ukraine’s territorial integrity be restored. He said that the US would adhere to the longstanding principle of refusing to recognize Kremlin claims of sovereignty over the territory seized by force in violation of international law. And he called for Russia to the principles that it claims to respect and “end of the occupation of the Crimea.”
The spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs brushed off the Crimea Declaration as another U.S. policy that could easily change in the future. In a Facebook posting, Maria Zakharova cited the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord — two Obama-era deals that Trump demolished.
“We know the value of this ‘ill-fated statements,” she said.
Russia has said Crimean voters approved the annexation in a referendum. The U.S. and European allies said that the referendum was deeply flawed and illegal, since it was held without the permission of the government in Kiev. Pompeo told the senators that the U.S. sanctions imposed in response to the annexation would continue until and unless Russia gives Crimea to Ukrainian sovereignty.
He also pushed back on the allegations in the Trump administration is weak or subservient to Russia via Ukraine or its interference with the elections. He noted that the administration just a few days ago if the Ukraine government with an additional $200 million in military equipment, and maintained that the government was serious about countering Russian intervention in the USA and the Western democracies.
Pompeo said that he had personally told top Russian officials that there will be “serious consequences” for any interference in the AMERICAN elections or the American democratic process. He said that Trump, despite his denigration of the Müller-elektronik gmbh & probe, accepts that there was evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election and is fully aware of the threat of Moscow.
“He has a complete and accurate picture of what happened,” Pompeo said of Trump.
Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Darlene Superville and Lynn Berry contributed to this.