Republicans are back on the defensive after former President TrumpDonald Trump Trump says he is not interested in being chairman if GOP takes it up again. House Perdue says he’s ‘locking up’ Trump supporters chants about Kemp Jared Kushner expected to have this week’s January 6 panel interview: reports MORE urged the Russian president Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinRussian internet regulator announces fines against Google for ‘spreading false content’ Putin’s actions in Ukraine spread to northern Ukraine in battle with Russian Goliath: why dictators are so bad at war MORE to unleash dirt on the Biden family.
The comments are the latest Trump-fueled headache for Republicans this week and the most recent entry in a years-long rift between Trump and many Congressional Republicans over Russia.
Trump’s comments also come at a politically inconvenient time for GOP lawmakers seeking to push the Biden administration to do more in response to Putin’s week-long, bloody invasion of Ukraine.
“My message to Putin is that he must go,” Sen said. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSusan Collins Makes Supreme Court Decision ‘Relatively Quick’ No. 2 GOP senator to oppose Supreme Court nominee Romney planning ‘a much deeper dive’ on Jackson after opposing her in appeals court MORE (RS.C.), who has remained close to Trump since he left office last year, when asked about the former president’s comments.
Asked if he thought making the comment was appropriate, Graham added: “That wouldn’t be something I would do, no.”
To be. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin shoots down Biden’s new tax plan for billionaire Schumer says Thomas must pull himself number 2 GOP senator to oppose Supreme Court candidate MORE (SD), the Senate Republican No. 2, said, “We obviously have very little control over what the former president says.”
“You know, there are a lot of voices right now, and you have to stay focused on the goal and that is to give the Ukrainians everything they need to succeed and win. And I think that’s actually a possibility,” Thune added, asking if it stepped on the Senate Republicans’ message about Russia.
Trump set alarm bells ringing Tuesday night when he said in an interview that he thought Putin should release all information about Hunter Biden. President BidenJoe Biden Trump says he is not interested in being chairman if GOP takes over from House Biden again.his son.
“One thing, while I’m on your show, as long as Putin isn’t exactly a fan of our country by now, let him explain, where did – because Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) Wallace Chris Wallace: Working at Fox was an ‘unsustainable’ merger with WarnerMedia approved by Discovery shareholders CNN announces streaming service launch date MORE I wouldn’t want to ask the question: why did the mayor of Moscow’s wife give the Bidens both $3.5 million? That’s a lot of money,” Trump told John Solomon and Amanda Head on “Just the News” on the Real America’s Voice network.
Trump added: “I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it.”
Trump referred to a controversial 2020 Senate GOP report on President Biden and Hunter Biden that revealed little evidence of wrongdoing. He doubled down on his comments on Wednesday, saying that “Russia may be willing to provide that information.”
Solomon, a former The Hill associate, was criticized for his opinion columns during Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 regarding Ukraine. The Hill then launched a review of those columns.
Democrats at the time alleged that Trump abused his power by pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into the Bidens, including linking a probe to aid.
Not all Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump’s comments.
“If he thinks Vladimir Putin has information that a crime was committed, you know, why not?” said Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John Cramer Bipartisan group of senators asks for details on defense aid to Ukraine Energy and environment — Interior continues oil lease plans Republican senators submit bill to ban Russian uranium import MORE (RN.D.), asked if Trump’s comments were appropriate.
But it’s not the first Russia-related headache for the GOP in response to Trump, which has been an ongoing point of contention between the former president, who remains the party’s de facto leader, and congressional Republicans.
The GOP-controlled Congress issued new sanctions against Russia in 2017 over initial objections from the Trump administration. And more recently, Trump caused a backlash, including from mainstream Capitol Hill allies, when he called Putin “smart” and a “genius.”
“I don’t think there’s anything clever or genius about Putin,” House Minority Leader said Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyJD Vance: Greene ‘did nothing wrong’ by attending white nationalist conference Defense and National Security – Officials Skeptical Russia Reduces Military Campaign Lawmakers pay tribute to late GOP Representative Don Young lying in state in Capitol Hill MORE (R-Calif.), in a rare break.
“I think Putin is bad. I think he’s a dictator. I think he’s killing people now,” McCarthy added.
Trump also seemed to put those comments into perspective in his statement on Wednesday, saying he called Putin a “genius” for building troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border before the invasion “because I assumed he would be able to easily.” to negotiate a lot about a lot for Russia.”
Trump’s latest comments come as Republicans are already facing questions this week about whether they communicated with him on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of supporters of the then president broke through the Capitol and counted the results of the Electoral College of 2020 disrupted for hours.
Minority Leader in the Senate Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJD Vance: Greene ‘did nothing wrong’ by attending white nationalist Defense and National Security conference – Officials skeptical Russia cuts military campaign McConnell evades question on Jan. 6 phone call from Trump MORE (R-Ky.) was questioned at a weekly news conference about a phone call Trump made to him on the day of the attack that he declined to answer.
“I have repeatedly said that the last time I spoke to the president was the day after the electoral college declared President Biden the winner. I publicly congratulated President Biden on his victory and then got a call from President Trump, and that’s the last time we spoke,” McConnell said when asked why he didn’t take Trump’s call.
Congressional Republicans also offered Trump a split-screen on Russia on Wednesday, when Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBennet, Portman introduce bill to use seized Russian assets for Ukrainian aid The Memo: Biden tries to withdraw his gift to Putin The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden: ‘No’ policy for regime change in Russia MORE (R-Ohio) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer says Thomas should recant himself Ketanji Brown Jackson and the charge of firstness Manchin: GOP treatment of Jackson ‘outrageous’, ’embarrassing’ MORE (D-Ill.), the co-chairs of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, met with members of the Ukrainian parliament.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to meet members of the Ukrainian parliament today. America is inspired by their courage and the courage of the Ukrainian people to fight back against Russian aggression,” Portman said after the meeting, adding that the government should step up its efforts on sanctions and deadly aid.
Republicans also predicted that anything that comes out of Trump’s latest comments, like much of what the president says, is largely out of their control.
“I don’t know how I would answer that. That’s going to be like things he’s involved in, it’s going to unfold,” the senator said. Mike BraunMichael BraunJudge Ketanji Brown Jackson: Without fear or favour, Braun takes back comments criticizing SCOTUS ruling that legalized interracial marriage Senate GOP faces Hunter Biden, Fauci investigates after midterm elections MORE (R-Ind.) said whether Trump’s comments were appropriate, adding that it was “out of my control.”