McConnell reassures Europe on Russia

McConnell reassures Europe on Russia
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPatient advocates launch drug pricing ad campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sought to reassure European allies following President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE’s chummy press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We value the NATO treaty,” McConnell declared at a weekly press conference, seeking to clean some of the fallout after Trump’s contentious meeting with NATO allies in Brussels earlier this month.

“We believe the European Union counties are our friends and the Russians are not,” McConnell told reporters. “We understand the Russian threat.”

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He said Russians have demonstrated their hostility by annexing Crimea, by invading Ukraine and by interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, calling the evidence of that meddling “indisputable.”

McConnell said those views are held widely in the Senate GOP conference, which finished meeting moments before the press conference began.

He said colleagues are mulling several legislative options to push back against Trump’s embrace of Putin.

“Sen. Rubio, for example, has got a bill that targets the 2018 election, the cycle we’re right in now,” McConnell noted, citing a bill sponsored by Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioChina's TikTok turns to former lawmakers to help with content moderation policies Hillicon Valley: Warren turns up heat in battle with Facebook | Instagram unveils new data privacy feature | Advocacy group seeks funding to write about Big Tech TikTok adds former lawmakers to help develop content moderation policies MORE (R-Fla.) that would impose penalties on Russia if it again interferes with a U.S. election.