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Congressman Joaquin Castro

Representing the 20th District of Texas

Castro Joins HFAC Democrats Letter to Trump to Cancel Putin Meeting

Jul 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Led by Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) joined 17 other Democratic members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs today called on President Trump to cancel his planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a letter, the Members expressed deep concern about the President meeting with Putin in light of recent events. Today, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian military officers for attacking American democracy and hacking the 2016 U.S. election, and President Trump spent the week disparaging longstanding U.S. NATO allies.

“The United States has many serious points of conflict with Russia. From Putin’s interference in our election to his backing of Syria’s murderous dictator Bashar Assad; from Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine to his attempt to assassinate the leader of Montenegro; and, from Putin’s pressure on our NATO allies to Russia’s aggressive military posture and nuclear deployments that run afoul of INF obligations, Russia has shown itself to be an adversary of the United States and our allies and a serious threat to global peace, security, and stability. And, today, Special Counsel Mueller indicted twelve Russian military officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee – a direct attack on our democracy,” the Members wrote.

The letter was signed by Reps. Engel, Gregory W. Meeks (NY), Albio Sires (NJ), Gerald E. Connolly (VA), Theodore E. Deutch (FL), Karen Bass (CA), William R. Keating (MA), David N. Cicilline (RI), Ami Bera (CA), Lois Frankel (FL), Joaquin Castro (TX), Robin L. Kelly (IL), Brendan F. Boyle (PA), Dina Titus (NV), Norma J. Torres (CA), Bradley S. Schneider (IL), Adriano Espaillat (NY), and Ted W. Lieu (CA).

Full text of the letter follows and can be viewed here:

Dear Mr. President:

We are profoundly concerned about your planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since you became president, you have consistently berated and alienated America’s NATO allies, the countries with which our ties are strongest. At the same time, you have repeatedly praised President Putin and—despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary—denied his interference in the 2016 presidential election to help your candidacy.

We are at a loss to understand your behavior this week at the NATO summit where you again thrashed the leaders of longstanding allies. Russia has been trying to derail NATO for nearly seven decades. By rejecting many of the basic principles that have made America strong and free in the period since World War II, your actions play right into the hands of this adversary.

For these reasons, we are increasingly alarmed by your upcoming meeting with the Russian strongman, and we urge you to cancel it.

The United States has many serious points of conflict with Russia. From Putin’s interference in our election to his backing of Syria’s murderous dictator Bashar Assad; from Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine to his attempt to assassinate the leader of Montenegro; and, from Putin’s pressure on our NATO allies to Russia’s aggressive military posture and nuclear deployments that run afoul of INF obligations, Russia has shown itself to be an adversary of the United States and our allies and a serious threat to global peace, security, and stability. And, today, Special Counsel Mueller indicted twelve Russian military officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee – a direct attack on our democracy.

To be sure, under the right circumstances, engagement with hostile leaders can be a positive enterprise. American diplomacy is strongest when the combined expertise of the State Department, Defense Department, and other agencies not only support, but are full partners of the White House in our foreign and national security policy-making. However, we must share our deep trepidation and shock that you plan to meet with Vladimir Putin alone and without senior advisors present. 

Mr. President, asserting these concerns gives us no pleasure. Frankly, we agree that an ongoing dialogue with Russia remains important to our country’s national security. Unfortunately, due to your constant expressions of sympathy for Vladimir Putin, your conflicts of interest, and your attacks on our closest allies, we do not have confidence that you can faithfully negotiate with the Russian leader, and we urge you to cancel the meeting.

Sincerely,

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