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WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, announcing a measure they introduced condemning President Trump’s actions at the Helsinki summit and reaffirming America’s commitment to NATO. Rep. Engel’s remarks follow:
“Thank you Adam and I want to thank the Leader, Leader Pelosi and Adam Schiff for working with me on this Resolution.
“You know the first part of the resolution says it all. It says, ‘affirming the United States’ commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and condemning President Donald Trump’s failure to confront Vladimir Putin for Russia’s election interference.’
“That just really says it all. Since World War II NATO has been the hallmark of American foreign policy. Through Democratic and Republican presidents, through Democratic and Republican congresses, we all got together and embraced NATO. We have a President, unfortunately, who not only wants to destroy NATO, who insults our allies, who tries to rip NATO in half, but then he then cozies up to Vladimir Putin, the man who interfered with American democracy, the man who interfered in our election. It’s like Alice in Wonderland; it’s turned reality on its side.
“So we are calling on all members of Congress, Democratic and Republican, to cosign this resolution with us, Resolution 1008, to say that we actually want to condemn what was done. I sat by my television and was flabbergasted when I saw that meeting with the President, saying, ‘I have to believe Putin.’ So we want to make sure that our colleagues join us.
“And we are also calling, the three of us, for Pompeo, Mattis, Coats, and Haspel to come to the House and speak to the Congress. We have a situation where Secretary of State Pompeo is coming to the Senate [Wednesday] to talk to them extensively about what went on in Helsinki. But there is no such meeting or hearing, or even just coming together with us, here in the House. That’s unacceptable and it’s dangerous.
“So it makes you scratch your head and say it’s like Alice and Wonderland—everything’s been turned upside down and on its side. And what the President has been doing is dangerous. And we want to reaffirm the strength of the NATO alliance which has kept our world free, kept us free, and kept us as leaders of the free world. We’re not about to turn over our posture as leaders of the free world over to a thug like Vladimir Putin.
“And finally, we want to know what went on in the meeting when Putin and Trump were alone. Why can’t we know what happened there? Why wasn’t anybody allowed to be there? It makes you wonder, what does Putin have on Donald Trump? Is there something that he has on Donald Trump? I don’t know and I can’t think of any other reason to have a meeting with the two of them alone. No one’s told us what went on in the meeting, he’s inviting Putin back, and your guess is as good as mine. It is not acceptable in this democracy and so we think that this Resolution is a long time coming.”
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