White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed today that President Trump is “working on” plans for a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The meeting, still in the planning stages, would be held in Washington DC this coming fall.
The news comes as many Americans are still reeling from Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki this week. The summit sparked outrage among many Americans, leading to hashtags like #impeach and #treasonsummit on social media. A recent poll says that 55 percent of Americans believe Trump “mishandled” the meeting with Putin.
On Capitol Hill today, Senators voted 98 to 0 on a proposal rejecting plans to send US citizens to Russia for questioning. Putin had sugggested a sort of quid pro quo arrangement, in which Washington would allow Moscow to question some US citizens in return for Russian cooperation with investigations into alleged election interference. Moscow has said it would like to question Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia, among others.
Here’s what you need to know.
The Senate Voted Overwhelmingly to Reject a Plan to Let Moscow Bring in US Citizens for Questioning. The White House Had Said It Was “Reviewing” the Idea
Putin apparently has his eye on several US citizens whom he says have interfered in Russia’s internal affairs. One name at the top on his list is Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia. McFaul has spoken out against alleged Russian human rights abuses, and now Moscow says they want the right to question him about his activities.
In Helsinki, Putin suggested a deal: if Washington would let Russia question McFaul and some others, then Moscow would extradite the 12 Russian nationals who Robert Mueller recently indicted for allegedly meddling in the 2016 US election. Trump didn’t initially say whether he was willing to make that kind of deal; the famous negotiator just said that he was “considering” it.
But in a 98 to 0 vote today, the Senate said they would not approve of any deal that allowed Moscow to question US diplomats or other citizens.
Just Before the Senate Voted, Trump Announced He Wouldn’t Agree to Putin’s Proposal Either
The White House took about 24 hours to “review” Putin’s proposal of sending US cititzens to Russia for questioning. Asked by a reporter, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “There was some conversation about it but there wasn’t a commitment made on behalf of the United States. The president will work with his team, and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.”
Finally, just a little while before the Senate voted on its own bill opposing the proposal, the White House issued a statement announcing that they, also, were against Putin’s proposal. Sarah Sander said that Putin’s proposal “was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it.”
A New CBS Poll Shows A Majority Of Americans Think Trump Mishandled the Meeting With Putin. But Most Republican Voters Say He Did Fine.
A CBS poll released today says that 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the way President Trump handled the Helsinki meeting with President Putin. That number jumps up to a whopping 83 percent when just Democratic voters are being asked. And among Independent voters, 53 percent believe that the summit was mishandled.
However, Republican voters overwhelmingly said that they approved of the Trump-Putin meeting. 68 percent of Republicans polled said they approved of Trump’s conduct during the summit, while only 21 percent disapproved (the other 11 percent said they didn’t know).
70 Percent of All Americans Believe Russia Interfered in the 2016 US Presidential Election
— Matt Rogers (@Politidope) July 19, 2018
The same CBS poll says that 70 percent of all Americans believe that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. 89 percent of Democrats said they believe that Russia interfered in the election, and so did 67 percent of Independents.
A slight majority of Republican voters — 51 percent — agreed that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Another 42 percent of Republicans said they didn’t believe the allegations against Russia.