Published July 18, 2018 / Updated August 12, 2020
From Russia With Love
Trump is open to Russia sending interrogators to question U.S. citizens
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump is open to letting Russian investigators come to the United States to question U.S. citizens, including a former American ambassador to Russia.
Asked point-blank if Trump would support the idea of U.S. officials and citizens being questioned by the Russian government, Press Secretary Sanders was unable to rule out the possibility that the White House would acquiesce to Russia’s request. Asked if this was a topic of conversation between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, she replied, “there was some conversation about it.”
Why this matters
Vladimir Putin has made unsubstantiated allegations against several foreign (to him) nationals including former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul; author of the infamous Steele Dossier, Christopher Steele; and Putin-critic and Russia sanctions proponent, Bill Browder.*
Regardless of what crimes these individuals may or may not have committed in Russia — and at this point there is no compelling evidence that they did anything wrong — they are quite obviously political enemies of the Russian government.
Bad things have a habit of befalling political enemies of the Russian government.
In exchange for facilitating the interrogation of Americans by the Russian government, the US government would be allowed to send representatives from the Mueller probe to Russia to observe the questioning of the Russian intelligence agents named in the recent indictments. The President characterized this as an, “incredible offer” and an, “interesting idea.”
In effect, this would suborn the United States government to the Russian government. Russian demands to interrogate U.S. citizens, admittedly on U.S. soil, would put the U.S. government in the position of rounding up and questioning Americans on the whim of a hostile foreign government.
Tell Congress What You Think
Even if it didn’t involve sending members of the Muller investigation into the proverbial dragon’s den this would be a risky gambit. Congress can draw attention to the issue but, ultimately, the President is responsible for foreign policy. You can write to your Representatives and Senators by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to make a difference.
* It is worth noting that while these names are the only ones we’ve seen mentioned. While McFaul is the only one among them who is a US citizen, the implication that these requests are in the plural suggests that there are other unnamed or undisclosed targets and that the US might be expected to facilitate access to British nationals.