Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday slammed the White House for considering a Russian proposal to interrogate Americans in exchange for assistance in the Mueller investigation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the idea in his summit talks with President Donald Trump on Monday, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. The Americans wanted for questioning by Moscow include Michael McFaul, the former US ambassador to Russia who served during the Obama administration, and American-born financier Bill Browder, who successfully lobbied the US government to impose new sanctions on Moscow.
In an interview with CNN's John Berman on "New Day," Albright was asked for her reaction to the White House's consideration of the proposal, which she said was "outrageous, because the ambassadors, they are representing the United States."
"We have to be supportive of them," Albright continued. "It is the whole process of diplomacy. And this not only undermines Mike McFaul, who really is an incredibly good and smart diplomat and somebody who understands Russia, but everybody."
Albright, who served during the Clinton administration, also added that it was the job of the US government to support their ambassador "because the jobs are very hard."
"It is the job of the State Department and the secretary of state and the President of the United States to stand behind our ambassadors and not just kind of put them out there for bait," Albright said. "I think it's outrageous."
Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state herself, also criticized the Trump administration for their consideration of this proposal.
"Ambassador @McFaul is a patriot who has spent his career standing up for America. To see the White House even hesitate to defend a diplomat is deeply troubling," Clinton tweeted Thursday morning.
Russian media has said McFaul was named as a "person of interest" in the ongoing investigation into Browder and related matters. McFaul was US ambassador to Russia when Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into law, imposing harsh sanctions that Browder and McFaul supported.
After Sanders' comments, McFaul wrote on Twitter: "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."
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