House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following remarks on CNN about President Trump’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Putin and the “concessions” that the administration is reportedly preparing to give out:
“This is sends a very bad signal. Putin takes advantage of weakness, and it’s very ironic for someone with as much bluster as Donald Trump throws around every day—I guess I wish he treated Vladimir Putin more like he treats CNN. I wish he was more willing to stand up to a world leader who is threatening democracy and undermining countries all across the globe.
“Because it’s not just the U.S. elections that the Russians have hacked into and influenced and manipulated. They’ve been doing it for quite some time. They run disinformation campaigns. They use very low-cost options: cyberattacks, disinformation. They don’t have a very strong military. But what they do have is they’ve decided to use these lower-cost technology options to influence things. And it’s very clear what Putin is trying to do. He’s trying to make the world safe for autocratic dictatorships. That’s what he believes in and that’s what he wants to keep in Russia, and that’s what he wants to spread. He wants to undermine liberal democracy any place he can.
“The only realistic option for us is to counter that. To the extent that we let Putin get away with it, he’s going to keep doing it. It’s just like in Ukraine. We have not given Ukraine the level of support that we should have to raise the cost for Putin’s interference there. We need to up our efforts to counter their counterinformation campaigns. We need to be very clear: What Putin is doing is unacceptable. It borders on an act of war, the way they’ve been treating us. And to offer concessions is simply going to encourage him to continue. We need to push back.”
Watch the whole video here: