NC senators issue statements on Trump-Putin meeting

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, especially Mr. Trump’s comments in a joint news conference at the summit in Helsinki, has drawn strong criticism from members of both major parties in the US.

Much of the criticism stems from Mr. Trump’s refusal to condemn Russian meddling in the 2016 election and acceptance of Putin’s denials of any involvement.

Following the news conference, during which President Trump again referred to the investigation into Russian involvement in the election as “a witch hunt” and blamed both the US and Russia for strained relations between the superpowers, North Carolina’s US senators, both Republicans, issued statements.

Sen. Richard Burr, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chair:
“The Senate Intelligence Committee has reviewed the 2017 IC assessment and found no reason to doubt its conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos and discord in our society. They have beaten and harassed US diplomats and violated anti-proliferation treaties. Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President.

“Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies.”

Sen. Thom Tillis:
There cannot be any equivocation: Vladimir Putin is to blame for Russia’s poor relations with the United States and the rest of the free world. It is Putin’s regime that illegally invaded Crimea, props up Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, assassinates dissidents on foreign soil, and meddles in the elections of the United States and its European allies.

“I’ve long maintained that America needs to take a strong position when it comes to Russia. While we should work with Russia on the specific instances where our nations share mutual objectives, we must confront Russia when they threaten the interests and well-being of America and its allies.

“Dialogue is not a bad thing, however, any meaningful improvement in our relationship with Russia must be solely dependent on whether Putin’s government starts to behave as a good faith actor on the world stage. Unfortunately, recent history casts serious doubt on if that is even a possibility.”

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