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House Dems press resolution denouncing Trump in wake of Helsinki
President Trump stunned Washington one week ago with his much-denounced appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Democrats on Capitol Hill aren't letting it go anytime soon.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday floated a new a resolution formally denouncing Trump for his comments in the Finnish capital, where the president appeared to side with Putin over the assessment of his own intelligence officials regarding Moscow's meddling in the 2016 elections.
The comments drew a fierce backlash, even from some of Trump's Republican supporters in Congress, and the president walked them back a day later.
But the damage, in the eyes of the Democrats, had been done. And the new resolution, although nonbinding, is their latest attempt to get the House on the record affirming Congress's commitment to liberal democracies - like those composing the NATO alliance - above hostile autocracies like Putin's Russia.
"This is a very important and pivotal moment for our country," Pelosi told reporters Monday evening in the Capitol. "We cannot appear to endorse what the president is doing by our silence."
Authored by Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff (Calif.) and Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the new resolution denounces Trump's approach to a host of foreign policy endeavors, including his recent attacks on America's NATO allies and his criticisms of the law enforcement officials investigating Russia's election meddling. It also declares the House's commitment to NATO and, more generally, to the promotion of democracy, security and human rights around the globe.
The resolution blossomed with the Helsinki summit, the Democrats said, but it's rooted in months of foreign policy decisions by the president.
"The Helsinki summit really brought to a head an entirely new and destructive direction that Donald Trump will bring this country - a direction in which we shun fellow democracies, in which we castigate our NATO allies, in which we make common cause with authoritarian governments around the world, and in which we embrace a Russia which has intervened in our own election and effectively invite them to intervene again," said Schiff, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Engel, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, piled on, expressing disbelief that a U.S. president would go after America's historic allies - but not Putin.
"It's like 'Alice in Wonderland,' " Engel said. "Everything's been turned upside down and on its side."
Aside from sending a political message, the Democrats' resolution is also designed to plow some distance between Republicans on Capitol Hill and their standard-bearer in the White House in an election year when the Democrats have high hopes of taking back the lower chamber. And GOP leaders will almost certainly ignore the resolution altogether - an outcome the Democrats are fully expecting.
"I doubt the Republicans will allow this to come to a vote," Pelosi said. "All we're saying to them is: Do something."
Trump on Monday lashed out at the media for what he deems unfairly harsh coverage of the Helsinki summit over the course of the last week. After bashing a number of allies during his recent travels abroad, the president is touting the power of diplomacy when it comes to Putin.
"When you hear the Fake News talking negatively about my meeting with President Putin, and all that I gave up, remember, I gave up NOTHING, we merely talked about future benefits for both countries," he tweeted. "Also, we got along very well, which is a good thing, except for the Corrupt Media!"