07.17.18

Dino Rossi and Other Washington Republicans Silent on Trump-Putin Summit

As you may have noticed from reading the internet, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the President for taking Putin's word on Russian interference over the word of his own intelligence agencies at yesterday's summit in Helsinki. The joint presser with Putin went over so badly that even Fox News is reporting on the "bipartisan backlash."

Congressman Adam Smith—who represents South Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue—said in a statement it's "hard to see President Trump siding with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence community and our criminal investigators as anything other than treason," echoing the words of former CIA director John Brennan, who called Trump's performance "treasonous." (Rep. Smith backed away from his comment a little in an interview with The Seattle Times, saying his use of the word treason was "might have been a little bit of hyperbole.")

Other Democratic members of Washington's congressional delegation issued strongly worded statements, as well. But as for the Republicans and Dino Rossi? Not so much.

Dino Rossi, the Republican and leading fundraiser running to replace Rep. Dave Reichert in Washington's 8th Congressional District, didn't respond to request for comment from The Stranger on whether or not he saw Trump's actions as treasonous. Yesterday, while Trump was busy denying the reality of Russian cyber attacks, Rossi Tweeted about a nice parade he participated in.

Rossi said only slightly less than Rep. Reichert, who told the Times that Trump shoulda said Russians "interfered in our elections" and that "those who have perpetuated interference in our elections will be held accountable." I'm going to go ahead and bookmark this statement and return to it at the conclusion of the Mueller investigation.

The Democrats running to replace Reichert in 8th District used much stronger language.

Former King County deputy prosecutor Jason Rittereiser posted a video to Facebook saying he was "filled with rage" after hearing Trump's comments in Helsinki. "He stood on foreign soil, denounced our intelligence officers, and let Russia get away with attacking our nation. Where I grew up, he would have been hauled off that state and thrown into a cell," Rittereiser said. "Dino Rossi, I'm going through you to get to President Trump. And, Trump, as a prosecutor, I'm coming after you."

Shannon Hader, former director of global HIV/TB at the Centers for Disease Control, said in a statement she was "horrified, although not terribly surprised."

"It’s time for every representative in Congress—Democrat and Republican—to send the messages that President Trump is unwilling or unable to: we will not tolerate meddling in our democracy; we will not reward you for your attacks; you are on notice," Hader said. "What’s underlying Trump’s bromance with Putin? We must get to the bottom of it, we must ensure the Mueller investigation proceeds to completion to leave nothing in the shadows."

Kim Schrier, the Sammamish pediatrician who's raised the most money among the Democrats so far, said, "Yesterday’s comments by President Trump are unacceptable and should sound off alarm bells in all our minds." She added that she couldn't overstate "how critical it is that we address foreign meddling in our elections" and accused Trump of "putting his own interests and his own pride above the interests of the entire United States."

Like Rittereiser, Schrier also laid into Rossi: "I’ve been calling on Dino Rossi to say where he stands on issue after issue this entire campaign. I invited him to a public debate last night—on the same day our national security was seriously harmed by the President's bizarre acquiescence to Putin—and Rossi still hid. Our democracy is being attacked and Rossi is putting politics above country. We need Congress to stand up to the president when he goes too far, not one that cowers in silence."

Seattle's Rep. Pramila Jayapal called Trump's comments at the summit "disgusting, disturbing and deeply dangerous."

Meanwhile, Congressman Derek Kilmer, who represents the peninsula, urgedCongress to pass the Honest Ads Act, which would require online political advertiser to disclose their identities.

Rep Denny Heck, who represents Olympia, not-so-obliquely compared the summit to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement strategy with Hitler's Germany: "Not since the appeasement of the 1930s have we seen this level of capitulation to a hostile foreign power," he Tweeted. "It didn’t deter aggression then and it won’t now. The president’s failure to confront Putin will not be forgotten."

Rep. Rick Larsen slammed the entire Republican party for being "the anti-FBI, pro-Russia, pro-tariff/anti-trade, low wages for hard work, America alone, Americans alone, no global leadership party."

In a statement, Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who's facing a serious challenger in Democrat Lisa Brown in eastern Washington, said "the President must hold Russia accountable for their adversarial actions and their continued efforts to undermine our democratic institutions" and mentioned her support for sanctions on Russia in the past. On Twitter, Brown said Congress must act now "to prevent future election interference."

The other Republicans—southwestern Washington's Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler and central Washington's Rep. Dan Newhouse—haven't said a word on the issue and haven't responded to requests for comment.


By:  Rich Smith
Source: The Stranger