GOP lawmaker: Trump is being manipulated by Putin

GOP lawmaker: Trump is being manipulated by Putin
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Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHere are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing Hillicon Valley: Schumer questions Army over use of TikTok | Federal court rules against random searches of travelers' phones | Groups push for election security funds in stopgap bill | Facebook's new payment feature | Disney+ launch hit by glitches Retirements pose threat to cybersecurity expertise in Congress MORE (R-Texas) on Thursday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE, saying he never thought he “would see the day when an American president” would be one of the people manipulated by Russian intelligence. 

"By playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer, writes in a scathing op-ed for The New York Times.


Hurd adds that Trump's initial failure to support the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections should concern all Americans. But Hurd also notes that the problems the U.S. has had with the Kremlin stem further back than 2016.

"Somehow many Americans have forgotten that Russia is our adversary, not our ally, and the reasons for today’s tensions go back much farther than the 2016 election," he wrote. "For more than a decade, Russia has meddled in elections around the world, supported brutal dictators and invaded sovereign nations — all to the detriment of United States interests." 

Hurd then cautioned that Russian "disinformation campaigns" are working and stresses that Congress must act to give "the men and women of our intelligence agencies the tools they need to confront Moscow and prevent this from happening in the future."

"Without action, we risk losing further credibility in international negotiations with both our friends and foes on critical trade deals, military alliances and nuclear arms," he said.

Hurd's comments come days after Trump met with Putin for a high stakes summit in Finland, one where the president drew major scrutiny for his refusal to denounce Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Trump and the White House have attempted to walk back the comments since the summit, with Trump saying Tuesday he misspoke in Helsinki. 

Trump later said in a CBS interview that he holds Putin personally responsible for election interference. 

“I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as currently constituted," he said. 

Hurd has been highly critical of Trump since the summit with Putin. Shortly after the press conference ended, Hurd said Trump was getting "played" by a former KGB agent.

Trump has asked his national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington for a second summit in the fall.