Chuck Schumer said on Monday that Americans are wondering should the "only explanation" for President Donald Trump’s performance alongside Vladimir Putin would be that the Russian president "holds damaging information over President Trump."
The Senate minority leader said in a statement that Trump is "putting himself over our country" for declining to criticize Putin after a joint news conference and dismissing intelligence reports on Russian interference during the 2016 elections. Calling Trump’s performance "shameful," Schumer said Trump "strengthened our adversaries while weakening our defenses and those individuals allies."
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"An individual, ominous question now hangs within the White House: what could very well cause President Trump helping put the interests of Russia over your the country? An incredible number of Americans continues to wonder if the one possible reason for this dangerous behavior is definitely the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump," Schumer said from the statement.
Schumer later listed four methods that Republicans could back up their rhetorical criticism of Trump: strengthening Russian sanctions that Congress approved not too long ago; seeking testimony from Trump advisers who traveled with Trump towards meeting; stopping any tries to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation; and prodding Trump to request the extradition of 12 Russian nationals Mueller indicted on Friday for election interference.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) declared that Schumer’s demand extradition of the indicted Russians "could be great" on paper but comes down to "wishful thinking" because "Putin’s not going to” agree.
“Much of what Sen. Schumer’s seeking, we’ve already done," Cornyn said, pointing to last year’s sanctions bill.
Asked if there are some other possible reasons behind Trump cozying around Putin, Schumer told reporters that "his behavior is so inexplicable, and so against the interests of the us," if the key reason why were not that this Russian president has compromising info about Trump, Americans might need to wonder "who cares can it be?"
Earlier on Monday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore..) said he thinks "it’s likely" that Putin holds damaging information about Trump.
"It is a standard technique of Russia with folks visiting there which might be important, eighteen, you are compromising specifics of them, to put them with hookers, to tape everything that continues in their room. So it will be likely they’ve got that," Merkley said in the Buzzfeed event.