Friday, July 20, 2018

Pompeo joins rank to reject Putin request to interrogate US citizens

Pompeo joins rank to reject Putin request to interrogate US citizens
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday became the newest Trump administration official to reject the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin to question several US citizens, including a former ambassador to Russia.

In an interview with CBN News, Pompeo said Moscow's demand to interrogate US citizens "is not going to happen."

"Make no mistake. President Trump understands that Russia does not share our interest in every place, and so he was very clear with Vladimir Putin about that," he said.

With respect to the particular question of Putin's request, Pompeo said "the administration is not gonna send, force Americans to travel to Russia to be interrogated by Vladimir Putin and his team," he added.

Also on Thursday, US White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said in a statement that the request to interrogate several US citizens, including former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, "is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin" in his earlier meeting with US President Donald Trump, "but President Trump disagrees with it."

She added that "hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt," referring to the 12 Russian hackers indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on July 13 for interfering with the US 2016 presidential elections.

The White House's belated remarks came after the Russian Prosecutor General's Office on Tuesday reportedly requested to question several US individuals over their criminal behaviors in Russia. McFaul, a famed critic of Putin, and his several colleagues, were among them.

The initiative was first voiced by Putin during his meeting with Trump. The White House was reported to be reviewing the demand.

The possible decision to allow Russian investigators to question US former diplomats has sparked further fury and suspicion on Capitol Hill.

For his part, McFaul tweeted earlier that he expects the US government to defend him and his colleagues "in public and private."

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