The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed that he needs more space as he attempts to improve the dialogue with Russians. On the other hand, U.S. lawmakers are going in the opposite direction.
The Senate has approved a bill to deliver new sanctions to Russia, and has to be assured that Trump government will not change the path with no congressional buy-in.
Mike Crapo Idaho Republican Senator expressed:
“Americans are concerned about Russia’s behavior in the Ukraine and Syria and they are concerned about Russia’s increased cyber-intrusions. Many of us on both sides of the aisle feel the U.S. needs to be much stronger in its response to Russia.”
Mike Crapo asserts that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has developed into a vigorously antagonistic, nationalistic and tyrannical.
New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen added that it was critical to send a strong bipartisan message to Russians because she thinks they were responsible for the scandal on presidential elections.
Jeanne Shaheen said:
“What we have heard from experts in the intel community: They’ve warned us that if Russia gets a pass on this, that it will interfere in future U.S. elections,”
“We’ve seen that in Europe and other western democracies.”
That’s why Shaheen is urging the White House and President Trump to sign the act, that is attached to the famous Iran sanctions bill.
Secretary Rex Tillerson, is requesting some room from the lawmakers for a dialogue with Moscow.
“Essentially, we would ask for the flexibility to turn the heat up when we need to, but also to ensure we have the ability to maintain a constructive dialogue.”
Eliot Engel Democrats Representative from New York asked for a guarantee that America will push Russia to fulfill obligations from Minsk agreement.
Tillerson responds to that:
“So my caution is I wouldn’t want to have ourselves handcuffed to Minsk if it turns out the parties decide to settle this through a different agreement.”
But, Eliot Engel just didn’t buy it, saying:
”The only thing that Russia understands is tough talk, and if they think we are somehow willing to relax the sanctions on them before they’ve complied with the Minsk framework and left Crimea, then I think it will just encourage Putin to continue his bullying and who knows where he will strike next.”