Lost in the turmoil of today’s off-the-rails White House press conference was an admission by Sarah Huckabee Sanders that the President of the United States had discussed handing over American citizens to the government of the Russian Federation – including the former United States Ambassador to Russia.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) July 18, 2018
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times asked the Press Secretary about several Americans who had been named by Russian authorities as being involved in the trumped-up allegations of tax evasion of by hedge fund manager Bill Browder.
Two of the individuals the Russians seek to interrogate are President Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael Faul, and Christopher Steele, the former MI6 agent responsible for compiling the now infamous Trump-Russia “pee tape” dossier, according to Russian state TV.
Browder spearheaded the passage of the Magnitsky Act after his friend and lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was murdered in prison for exposing a $230 million corruption scandal by the members of Putin’s government. The Russian government, in turn, is attempting to punish him for his role in the bundle of sanctions that the Obama administration slapped on the Russian oligarchy in the Magnitsky Act.
Which makes it very disturbing to hear that the President is even considering the possibility of allowing Russians to interrogate American citizens in pursuit of a petty feud between disgruntled oligarchs and the hedge fund manager who crossed them.
On Monday, Putin publicly accused Browder and his associates of funneling $400 million to the Hillary Clinton campaign, which Browder denounced as “so ludicrous and untrue that it falls into delusion.”
Ever eager to please his Russian taskmaster, the very fact that President Trump has been even considering allowing Russian authorities to interrogate American citizens is appalling – especially considering how often Putin’s political enemies end up dead.
While the State Department quickly said that was “absolutely absurd,” it’s obvious that the President doesn’t bother consulting with any of the federal departments that are in place to help him “govern” this once-great nation and that he will do as he please, no matter what his aides and his handlers tell him to do.
After WH spox Sarah Sanders fails to reject Russian request to question former US Amb to Russia Michael McFaul, State spox Heather Nauert calls the Russian request "absolutely absurd" and "We do not stand by those assertions" the Russian government makes.
— Jonathan Landay (@JonathanLanday) July 18, 2018
Coming on the heels of this morning’s double-pronged attack on NATO and the American intelligence community, the President seems intent on doing everything he can to please Vladimir Putin – and we need Mueller to hurry up with his investigation as quickly as reasonably possible.