NY members of Congress react to Trump-Putin meeting: ‘Russia is not our friend’

Jul 17, 2018

Members of Congress from New York are reacting to President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump’s remarks on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Democrats and Republicans agree, Russia is not a friend to the U.S.

Trump said while he had great confidence in his intelligence people, Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Sen. Charles Schumer said Trump sided with Putin’s denial over the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community.

“He took the word of the KGB over the word of the men and women of the CIA," Schumer said. "Rather than placing blame for what happened in 2016 on Russia, where it belongs, the president had the gall to blame both countries for the troubled relationship. The president put what’s best for him, over what’s best for the security and well-being of the United States.”

Schumer said it is possible Putin holds damaging information over Trump.

“His behavior is so inexplicable and so against the interest of the United States, so against what all of his advisors would tell him, that Americans are scratching their head and saying if that’s not the explanation, that Putin has something on it, what is it?" Schumer said. "What the heck could it be?”

Schumer said the best people to check Trump are Republicans.

Republican representatives from central, northern and western New York including Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) and Tom Reed (R-Corning) all acknowledged Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Katko said Trump should have used the summit as an opportunity to confront Putin over Russia’s aggressive actions, adding there is no excuse for his failure to do so. Read his full statement below.

“I want to be completely clear: I trust the unanimous conclusion of our nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia conducted an aggressive hacking and disinformation campaign in the United States.  The President should clearly and firmly stand behind our intelligence agencies, and he should have used this summit as an opportunity to confront President Putin over Russia’s aggressive actions in the U.S. and around the world.  There is no excuse for his failure to do so.”

Stefanik said she supports the Robert Mueller probe on Russia's involvement in the election, but Reed said it should come to a close because there is no evidence of collusion with any American.

Reed's statement is below.

“Russia is not our friend, and I have no doubt they have, and are trying to, meddle in our elections. However, there is no evidence of collusion with any American, and it is time for the Mueller probe to come to a close. By completing the investigation, we will restore faith in our democratic electoral process.”

Read Tenney's statement below.

“Russia is not our friend. That is why I voted to impose new sanctions on Russia in response to their meddling in our election and to rebuild our military after years of cuts and a deeply flawed foreign policy of capitulation under the previous Administration. As we have witnessed, strength is the one thing that a man like Putin understands and I support the US leading our NATO allies to stand strong against Russian aggression.”