Letter from, to Senator Angus King

Today, I received an email from Senator King. Not a personal one, a constituent-outreach email. This is what it says

I, too, believe that the American public deserves to know more about what was discussed between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Helsinki on July 16th. While I strongly disagree with President Trump’s approach to U.S.-Russian relations and have been critical of his handling of his meeting with President Putin, I do not support efforts to subpoena the U.S. interpreter present at the meeting, for several reasons. Under Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the President has broad authority over the implementation of U.S. foreign policy. Further, I am concerned that subpoenaing  the interpreter from the Helsinki meeting would break with existing protocol and set a precedent that could threaten the ability of this—or any future—President to conduct sensitive diplomacy in the future. One possible result, for example, could be that our President would decide not to have an American interpreter at such meetings at all, and rely exclusively on the interpreter supplied by the foreign country which, clearly, could be inimicable to our national interest.

While I do not support a subpoena for the interpreter at the Trump-Putin meeting, I do believe the Administration should be more forthcoming in explaining what was agreed to in that meeting. I explained my viewpoint on CNN on July 19th. You can view the interview with the following link. As I mentioned in the interview, I find it disturbing that there was no transparency on what precisely was discussed or agreed to during that meeting and that the President continues to equivocate on Russia’s attempts to influence our elections. It is imperative that we effectively deter future Russian interference in our democracy with a coordinated response from the U.S. government. I will continue to work with my colleagues to support policies that protect the integrity of U.S. elections and strengthen our ties with our European Allies.

This is my response:

Senator King,

Thank you for reaching out to let your constituents know what you are thinking on the issue of the Helsinki meeting.

I disagree with your reasoning. If we were talking about a private meeting between the President of the United States and the Premier of Canada, or Prime Minister of England, or the Prime Minister of Israel, I would agree. These countries are allies. However, that is not what happened.

Mr. Trump held a private meeting not with a proven or even a new ally. This meeting was held with the leader of a hostile nation. A national leader directly implicated in attempting to, or perhaps successfully, interfering with our internal governmental processes in electing a government. A national leader who has maintained his own power over the course of the past 18 years by controlling the once-free press of Russia, intimidating, jailing and probably murdering political opponents and critics, a tactic that is being brought to bear by Donald Trump as we speak.

There are strong allegations from domestic and international intelligence agencies that directly link Putin and Trump on many levels in such a manor that indicate that Trump is, in essence, owned by Putin.

We very much need to know what was said at that meeting in Helsinki. We need to know what Trump promised or gave Putin. Or perhaps more accurately, you need to know, since you are on the Intelligence Committee.

 

 

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