Dem senator: Trump withdrawing from arms treaty a ‘gift to Putin'

Dem senator: Trump withdrawing from arms treaty a ‘gift to Putin'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech Dems introduce bill to tackle 'digital divide' Overnight Energy: Collins receives more donations from Texas oil, gas industry than from Maine residents | Interior chief left meetings off schedule | Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to coal mine MORE (D-Hawaii) said Tuesday that she believes President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE is acting in Russian President Vladimir Putin's interest by withdrawing from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). 

"[Trump] is very much on the [same] page with Putin and his announcement that we're going to withdraw from the INF is yet another, in my view, gift to Putin," Hirono told CNN's "Situation Room" Tuesday night.

"Because I think Putin would like that to happen so that he can be unfettered in his aggression."

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Russia has decried Trump's move a form of "blackmail" on the part of the U.S.

The Kremlin has also called it a "dangerous stance" on the part of the White House and said the country will act to "restore balance" if the U.S. truly withdraws. 

The White House says that Russia has repeatedly broken the treaty, which Russia denies, and that the U.S. will not begin developing more advanced nuclear missiles previously prohibited under the deal.

Critics of the deal say it only diminishes U.S. military strength while allowing China and Russia to develop more powerful missiles. 

"[Russia's] decision to violate the INF Treaty and other commitments all clearly indicate that Russia has rebuffed repeated U.S. efforts to reduce the salience, role, and number of nuclear weapons,” the administration wrote in a nuclear strategy document earlier this year.

Hirono said Tuesday that Trump's announcement of the decision is an example of what is wrong with his brand of foreign policy.

"This is yet another example of how President Trump makes these kinds of announcements without consulting certainly with Congress and definitely with our allies so our allies both in Europe and in Asia are both very concerned about where he's going," Hirono said.

She did not specify which allies had expressed fears regarding the U.S.'s withdrawal.

"We don't need another nuclear arms race to proceed a pace and then to encourage other countries to become very, to develop these kinds of capabilities also," Hirono added. This is not what we need."