Jeb Bush blasted the Trump administration on Wednesday for indicating it's considering an offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin to observe questioning of indicted Russians in exchange for allowing Russian authorities to question American citizens.
"Not dismissing this absurd request out of hand is an extraordinary sign of weakness by an American president," Bush tweeted.
Not dismissing this absurd request out of hand is an extraordinary sign of weakness by an American president. https://t.co/c8oIrNb7AY— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2018
The former Florida governor frequently clashed with Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign. Bush has periodically criticized Trump since he took office.
At a joint press conference in Finland, Putin said he’d be willing to allow U.S. law enforcement to travel to Russia and observe the questioning of suspects implicated in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE’s probe. In exchange, Putin said he’d want access to U.S. citizens for questioning.
Trump appeared receptive to the offer, saying at Monday's press conference that Putin had made an "incredible offer."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Trump will discuss the offer with other U.S. officials.
“There was some conversation about it, but there wasn’t a commitment made on behalf of the United States,” Sanders said at Wednesday's press briefing. “The president will work with his team and we’ll let you know if there’s an announcement on that front.”
A number of former U.S. officials have raised concerns about the possibility of such an arrangement. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who could be questioned by Russians if Trump agreed to the deal, called on the White House to denounce the idea "in categorical terms."
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 https://t.co/K1ZvrNwTu3— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) July 18, 2018