Tags: James Lankford | US | Approach | Russia | Strength

Sen. James Lankford: US Needs to Approach Russia From Position of Strength

(Fox News/"America's Newsroom")

By    |   Friday, 13 Jan 2017 02:00 PM

For the past eight years, the Obama administration has been trying to negotiate with Russia from a position of weakness, and it's not surprising to see President-elect Donald Trump now reaching out and saying U.S.-Russia relations have not been working well, Sen. James Lankford, a member of the Senate's Intelligence and Homeland Security committees, said Friday.

"Our relationship with Russia is based on the old Reagan term, trust and verify," said the Oklahoma Republican on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," responding to news reports about how Trump's cabinet picks differ from the president-elect about Russia.

He said he expects certain cabinet nominees, such as CIA-designate Mike Pompeo and Gen James Mattis, who has been nominated as defense secretary, to keep having different opinions on Russia.

"When we face Russia, we need to face them with a position of strength and to be able to say we don't expect you to ever mess with us and we want you to be able to leave us alone," said Lankford. "We'll work with you when we can work with you otherwise you need to leave us alone."

Meanwhile, Lankford, calling the CIA the "greatest intel agency in the world," said he believes Pompeo will be a "tremendous leader" for the agency, which has strong opinions about resetting relations with Russia.

"It was just this last summer that Russians were beating up American diplomats as they were returning back into our embassy overnight," said Lankford.

"Russia has not treated us like an ally or friend and they are not an ally or friend. They have a fairly weak economy now, but Putin is continuing to push and say we want to be a player on the world stage.

"When the United States backed up out of Syria, out of the Middle East, Russia was glad to be able to fill in the vacuum."

Trump has had sharp words against the CIA and the intelligence community overall, but Lankford said he thinks the president-elect will come around once he takes office, "the more he sees the information, the more he engages, the more history that he has with him, the more that everyone will see that Putin is really a thug and a bully and he wants to be able to push out the advancement of Russia around the world."

He said he also does not disagree with Secretary of State-nominee Rex Tillerson that there are ways to work with Russia , but "again, we should try to work with every single nation in every way we can that benefit . . .

"The key thing is at this point we should continue to be skeptical of someone who is a murderous thug like Putin is."

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For the past eight years, the Obama administration has been trying to negotiate with Russia from a position of weakness, and it's not surprising to see President-elect Donald Trump...
James Lankford, US, Approach, Russia, Strength
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2017-00-13
Friday, 13 Jan 2017 02:00 PM
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