Six U.S. Republican senators on Tuesday introduced a resolution voicing concern about an alleged Russian breach of a 1987 arms control treaty.
GOP lawmakers have assailed Obama administration officials for what they see as an insufficient U.S. response to suspicions that Moscow has tested missiles in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. In the accord, the United States and Russia agreed to refrain from testing or fielding ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles.
“Fresh off the invasion of a sovereign state, Russian cheating cannot be interpreted in anything but the most sinister terms,” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and his colleagues said in a news release. “Cheating is not a separate issue, but is rather recognized as an equal part of [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin’s long-term plan for a resurgent Russia.”
Calling the INF Treaty “the central arms control accord of the nuclear era,” the lawmakers said Washington “must treat it seriously and pursue violations relentlessly. There is simply no point in having treaties unless both sides treat them with the utmost fidelity, and act in a manner binding to the agreement.”
Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, was joined in introducing the measure by senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Three House GOP members are advancing complementary legislation, the statement notes.
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As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."