Former UN ambassador: ‘Outrageous’ if White House does not protect diplomats from Russian interrogation

Former UN ambassador: ‘Outrageous’ if White House does not protect diplomats from Russian interrogation
© Anne Wernikoff

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice tore into the Trump White House for considering the possibility of allowing Russian officials to interrogate US citizens.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE would “meet with his team” about Russia’s proposal to interview former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, among other Americans, as part of an access exchange with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

Rice strongly criticized the proposal, calling it “beyond outrageous” and accusing the White House of “serving a hostile foreign power.”

“Beyond outrageous,” Rice tweeted. “Amb. McFaul served our country honorably and with full diplomatic immunity. If the White House cannot defend and protect our diplomats, like our service members, they are serving a hostile foreign power not the American people.”

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Russian President Vladimir Putin made the proposal during a joint press conference with Trump in Helsinki, saying that he would be open to letting Mueller interview the 12 Russian intelligence officials he indicted on election interference charges, in exchange for the opportunity for Russia to interview people “who have something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia.”

Russia is reportedly seeking to interview McFaul as part of their investigation into British financier and Putin critic Bill Browder, who Putin has accused without evidence of financial crimes.

McFaul has demanded Trump reject Putin’s proposal, saying that “not doing so creates moral equivalency between a [legitimate] US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin."

The State Department also strongly denounced Putin’s proposal, calling the allegations “absolutely absurd.”