Tags: Russia | Trump Administration | coons | trump | putin | meeting

Sen. Coons: Trump 'Whiffed' at the Plate During Putin Meeting

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Monday, 10 Jul 2017 01:10 PM

President Donald Trump failed to adequately confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, even though he did bring up the subject, Sen. Chris Coons said Monday.

"I think on this question of confronting Vladimir Putin on his interference in our 2016 election, Donald Trump stepped up to the plate and whiffed," the Delaware Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"The idea that we're going to simply agree to disagree and move on, I think steps aside from confronting the very real challenge, which is that Vladimir Putin and his Russian intelligence agencies fully intend to interfere in our next election in 2018 and 2020."

Further, he said, former FBI Director James Comey testified to the Senate that since Russia has not paid a "serious price" for interfering in the election, "we can expect them to attempt and probably succeed in interfering in our next elections," Coons said.

The Trump-Putin faceoff would have been stronger, Coons said, had Trump presented Putin with a signed law imposing tougher sanctions for Russia's "inappropriate and unacceptable interference in our election."

The Senate has already passed a sanctions bill by a near-unanimous vote, but the legislation is stalled in the House.

Coons also commented on Donald Trump Jr.'s comments about meeting with a Russian attorney, and about ending the meeting when it turned out she'd wanted to talk about adoption laws, not about passing information along about Hillary Clinton, which had been stated as the reason for the meeting.

Trump was joined in the meeting by his brother-in-law, Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort.

"For a group of folks that have nothing to hide about their interactions with Russia, they certainly seem to have been hiding it," Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said.

"The idea that these three individuals, the president's son, the president's son-in-law, and the president's campaign manager organized a meeting in order to get the fruits of cyber-hacking into their opponent's campaign is strongly suggestive of potentially criminal activity."

Further, said Coons, the three failed to report the meeting before now, suggesting there could have been some "inappropriate action, some conspiracy, or some obstruction."

"I can't reach those conclusions as to whether it is or isn't because I don't have that evidence in front of me," said Coons.

"It certainly suggests based on The New York Times' reporting that this is the sort of thing that Bob Mueller should be looking at closely, and if we can do so without interfering with Bob Mueller's independent investigation, we should do so on the Judiciary Committee as well."

Coons also said he fears Russia is trying to isolate the United States from the rest of the world.

"The policy of America first is increasingly turning out to mean America alone," said Coons. "I'll remind you that president trump's strategy for how to confront North Korea's aggressive nuclear weapons program, one of our top national security challenges is to try to organize world pressure on China to get China to put pressure on North Korea.

"His trumpeting nationalism and economic isolationism frankly did not go over well with the G-20."

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Politics
President Donald Trump failed to adequately confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, even though he did bring up the subject, Sen. Chris Coons said Monday.
coons, trump, putin, meeting
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2017-10-10
Monday, 10 Jul 2017 01:10 PM
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