The U.S. senate has voted 98 to zero against Vladimir Putin’s request to expose ambassador Michael McFaul and others to Russian interrogation.
Trump initially called the proposal “an incredible offer” when Putin proposed it at the Helsinki summit Monday according to the Washington Post. The president also expressed doubts that Russia had hacked into DNC computer systems during the 2016 election. Shortly thereafter, he said he does believe Russian intelligence had interfered.
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Thursday. “Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt.”
Sanders insinuated that the White House is still gauging the implications of the idea presented by Putin in Finland.
Michael McFaul, who once served as an ambassador for the U.S., asserts that Putin has delusions that there is an operation being run out of the American embassy to usurp the Russian government.
McFaul also claims that he has been personally harassed by Putin for years following his time in Russia. He had initially feared that the Trump administration would allow Russia to question him about the alleged events at the U.S. embassy.
“98-0. Bipartisanship is not dead yet in the US Senate. Thank you for all your support.” McFaul tweeted Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the State Department, Heather Nauert, said on Putin’s accusations against McFaul and other U.S. officials, “I believe some of this would fall under the Department of Justice, so I’d have to loop in the Department of Justice on this. This is something that just came out.”
NPR reports that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker believes the U.S. would have been “playing into Russia’s hands” had they allowed the story of the supposed plot to undermine Putin to circulate.
“The president does have the ability to meet with anybody he wishes,” Corker said to the press. “I think this one, especially with the presentation that was made at the end, was disconcerting to most Americans and certainly was to me.”
He added, “We’re going to have Pompeo come in next week, and I think we’ll be much better informed when that is over, as to what the intentions are, where they’re trying to take this relationship, was there anything that was agreed to privately in those meetings.”
Many leaders in the political arena, both Democrats and Republicans, have come out against the idea, including Senator Marco Rubio, who said that “under no circumstances” should Russian officials be allowed to question U.S. citizens.