Senate Resolution Warns Trump Not to Hand Officials to Putin

(CN) – The Senate on Thursday approved a resolution warning President Trump not to let the Russian government question diplomats and other officials, just hours after the White House backpedaled on saying it was considering a proposal by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow be allowed to help interrogate U.S. citizens.

Senators voted 98-0 on the resolution introdcued by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., with the backing of Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

“That President Trump would even consider handing over a former U.S. ambassador to Putin and his cronies for interrogation is bewildering,” Schumer said before the vote on the non-binding resolution. “This body must agree on the importance of protecting our ambassadors. We should pass it today, not wait, not show any equivocation.”

The vote came hours after the White House said President Donald Trump disagrees with a proposal Putin made Monday that would allow the Kremlin to interrogate a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and others.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it.”

“Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” she said.

During a press conference alongside Trump in Helsinki, Putin suggested his government would allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to interrogate 12 Russian military intelligence officials indicted last week if the U.S. would reciprocate by allowing the Russian government to interrogate certain Americans.

Trump initially responded by calling the idea an “incredible offer” during the news conference.

On Wednesday, Sanders said during a briefing with reporters that the president would “meet with his team” on the Russian proposal.

That response set off a firestorm on Twitter and in the media. But the administration has hardly been bowed by the controversy.

Late Thursday, Sanders tweeted that the president has “agreed to ongoing working level dialogue” between the two security council staffs of the two countries, and that he’s directed National Security Advisor John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington in the fall.

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