July 18, 2018

Castro Remarks on Trump-Putin Summit

- As Delivered – Click Here for Video

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, made the following remarks today at a press conference with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; Congressman Adam Schiff, Ranking Member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; and other current and former Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This press conference was in response to the Trump-Putin summit where the President failed to hold Putin accountable for interfering in our 2016 election.

“Thank you, Congressman. Like millions of Americans, I was stunned yesterday to watch what was essentially a treacherous act by the President of the United States.

“First, he should never have gone to Helsinki to meet with Vladimir Putin. Most especially after the latest round of indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers who our Intelligence Community believes, and knows, tried as hard as they could to interfere with our democracy in 2016.

“But, once the President made the decision to go and meet with Vladimir Putin, the first thing he should have demanded was that those 12 individuals, as well as the folks who had been indicted before from Russia, should have been made available for extradition to the United States.

“Rather than trying to come up with a plan for Syria or anything else, that should have been a precondition for the President of the United States.

“And along with Adam and Mike and others, Eric, on the Intelligence Committee right now, we spent hours and hours and hours listening to testimony from a variety of witnesses. And, during all of that testimony, not once during this investigation—not once—did the Republican leadership use the subpoena power to subpoena travel records, or banks records, or do anything that would verify the information that was being told to us.

“This Congress also has not done anything—as Congressman Quigley said—to make sure that our election systems are secure.

“Many Americans are surprised to realize that there isn’t a single federal law, and not a state law that I can find, that requires any level—even a basic level—of election security protection for our voting systems. There are no standards in place that say what an election administrator in a certain county has to do to protect our election systems. That’s astounding in 2018.

“The fact that Russia did interfere in our 2016 election, and that the President, by his presence there at that summit, by his praise for Vladimir Putin, by his unwillingness to ask for the extradition of the 12 Russians who interfered with our election—he has given Vladimir Putin, Russia, and others who would do the United States harm the green light to interfere again in 2018, 2020, and beyond.

“We have to make sure that we do everything that we can domestically to secure our elections, but also, with our allies, to form a kind of ‘cyber NATO’—a mutual defense pact when it comes to cyber space.

“NATO, of course, deals with a defense pact [for] when you have a physical intrusion of an allied country—the nations then join together in defense.

“No such thing exists at all in cyber space. It’s clear that the times demand that we make that happen. Thank you.”

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