WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who earlier this year commissioned a major report on Vladimir Putin’s attacks against democracy, universal values, and the rule of law in Russia and throughout Europe, released the following statement Monday after the conclusion of a summit between President Trump and Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland:
“President Trump’s conduct in Helsinki was dangerous and flies in the face of how the leader of the free world should conduct themselves on the international stage.
“The president’s entire trip abroad in Europe was detrimental to U.S. national security interests and another assault on the values that define us as Americans and as a global leader. The trip was punctuated by a disastrous press conference alongside Vladimir Putin where Mr. Trump said he did not ‘see any reason why it would be’ Russia that meddled in our 2016 election, despite his own Intelligence Community unanimously confirming it to be true. Such a statement is deeply disturbing, defies logic, and appears to be the latest gift from the American president to the Russian dictator. Vladimir Putin has shown time and again that if you do not stand up to his aggression, he will continue to push further and grow more dangerous.
“President Trump is unable or unwilling to defend America’s interests, values, or friends, or to stand up to adversaries such as Mr. Putin. It is unacceptable conduct from the U.S. president and further evidence that on behalf of the American people, Congress will need to play an even stronger role in U.S. foreign policy to protect the friends, interests, and institutions that help keep our country safe.”