WASHINGTON—Neither President Donald Trump nor his Administration should make any Russia policy changes, according to a resolution introduced Wednesday by Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that, until the FBI completes its investigation into ties between the President’s campaign and Russia's interference into the 2016 election, the President and his Administration should make no alterations to sanctions, treaties, military aid, or diplomatic relations that might benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin or his government.
“Cheaters should never prosper. Until investigations are completed and the American people know the full facts of the attack upon our democracy, the Trump White House should not be changing our nation’s policies to benefit Vladimir Putin and his government,” Swalwell said. “We’re learning more every day about the deep personal, political and financial ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia–including many that converged with Russia's election interference–and we need to ensure that all of America’s policies are in America’s best interests, not Putin’s.”
“Every day it seems we learn more and more about the ties between the Trump Administration and Russia—a foreign power that means us harm and that criminally interfered with last year’s election. So far, every investigation into this issue has been marred by partisan politics. That’s why we need a prompt, public, and independent investigation,” Engel said. “We certainly need answers before this Administration shifts our country’s posture toward Russia. That’s what this legislation calls for, and I’m proud to join Mr. Swalwell in introducing it. The American people deserve to know that our leaders are making decisions based solely on America’s interests—not on allegiances to Vladimir Putin.”
FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that Russia is a foreign adversary and should be treated as such in all interactions with American officials. Comey at that hearing confirmed active criminal and counterintelligence investigations into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian interference.
A January 2017 public report by 17 U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally ordered a campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections with the intent of assisting the Trump campaign. This campaign included hacking and selective release of private information; creation and dissemination of fake news through social media and via Russia’s state-run, intelligence-connected broadcast agency, RT. The report also concluded Russia intends to attempt such interference again in America’s and its allies’ future elections.
Despite evidence of Russia’s adversarial stance toward American interests around the world, President Trump has refused to criticize Russia or Putin but has criticized America’s longtime allies, such as the United Kingdom, Mexico, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the resolution notes.
The resolution expresses Congress’ sense that President Trump, his family, his business associates, his campaign associates, and members of his Administration should cooperate fully with all investigations into Russia’s attack on our democracy, ties between President Trump’s campaign officials and Russia, and possible coordination between these officials and Russia as part of its attack.
“Until the conclusion of the FBI’s criminal and counterintelligence investigations into the nature of the Russian connection to the Trump campaign, the Trump administration is acting under a ‘gray cloud’ of the appearance of a conflict of interest, and, as such, should refrain from taking any actions or making any changes to United States policy that could be seen as benefitting President Putin or his inner circle,” the resolution concludes. “The appearance of any conflict of interest concerning a well-resourced, committed, and dangerous foreign adversary and the institutions of United States Government primarily responsible for national defense and the conduct of foreign policy weakens our national security and erodes confidence between the United States and our allies.”