'They Are Serving a Hostile Foreign Power': Officials React in Horror as the White House Considers Letting Russia Question Ex-Ambassador
Whenever we think we've hit rock bottom with President Donald Trump, there's always further we can fall.
Trump's meeting this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin was criticized across the board by members of both parties. Lawmakers and members of the media said Trump was excessively submissive toward the autocratic leader and failed to stand up for American interests.
But it was even worse than it appeared. On Wednesday, the White House confirmed that Trump and Putin discussed having former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul questioned by Russian officials as a part of a wild and nonsensical conspiracy theory pushed by the authoritarian regime.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president is still considering the idea.
Former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, however, noted that it would be an astounding concession for the president to even consider such a violation of diplomatic immunity.
“Beyond outrageous,” she said in a tweet. “Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.”
McFaul himself responded to the idea: “I hope the White House corrects the record and denounces in categorical terms this ridiculous request from Putin. Not doing so creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin.”
Even the State Department, run by Trump appointee Mike Pompeo, called the request “absolutely absurd."
Behind the scenes, the reaction was even worse, according to the Daily Beast.
One current diplomat told the outlet that the White House’s comments left him “at a fucking loss.”
The diplomat also said: “The president has first and foremost his interests at the top of his mind, as opposed to the government’s. That’s very clear over the past week and a half, between sh*tting on our NATO allies and kissing Putin’s ass."