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When it comes to foreign policy -- especially Russia -- New York Congressman Eliot Engel clashes with President Trump.
Engel, who is the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking member, said Trump is sending the wrong message -- that NATO is divided and unwilling to react-- just when Russian President Vladimir Putin is testing its resolve by seizing three Ukrainian ships.
Engel, likely to become committee chairman when the House comes under Democratic control in January, called for a unified and forceful response from the U.S. and its allies, short of war.
“We have to work with our allies in the NATO alliance, and what bothers me is President Trump has trashed the NATO alliance,” Engel told Defense News. “It’s very difficult when you have the President cozying up to Putin once again, not having a very strong response so far — letting Putin think there will be a lot of handwringing and talk, but not a lot of action.”
Engel, who represents southern Westchester and the Bronx, added, “That sends a message to Russia that we’re thrashing our allies and not going to be willing to work in tandem with them and the NATO alliance.”
Engel repeated his support for sending defense weapons to Ukraine.
“If Putin starts seeing Russian soldier fatalities, that changes his equation,” Engel told Defense News.
Engel also said he supports a wide-ranging examination of Trump’s ties to Russia and an investigation into how the President’s business interests have intersected with his foreign policy decisions.
The Trump Administration has shown that it will “do the minimum possible to interact with Congress” and that it sees the State Department “as the enemy,” Engel told USA TODAY in an interview previewing his plans for next year. “I’m not going to accept that.”
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