The Trump administration will not let Americans to be interrogated by Russia, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today, ruling out acceding to any such request from Moscow.
President Vladimir Putin during a press conference with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki on Monday proposed that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team could travel to Russia to question 12 Russian intelligence officers charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election, if Russia is allowed to interrogate some Americans.
The Americans wanted for questioning by Russia include Michael McFaul, who was ambassador to Russia from January 2012 to February 2014, and American-born financier Bill Browder, who lobbied the US government to impose new sanctions on Moscow.
The issue has hogged national attention in the last few days after Putin made a suggestion on this lines in the context of Russia helping in the ongoing US investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential polls.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials on charges of hacking into the servers of the Democratic party and its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The White House yesterday said Trump “disagrees” with Putin’s offer to allow Russian investigators to come to the US to question American citizens in exchange for assistance in the ongoing US probe into election interference.
“It’s not going to happen,” Pompeo told VOA news.
“The Russians made a proposal about a number of things during the course of the conversations between President Trump and President Putin. There were suggestions, comments, thoughts by President Putin with respect to that inquiry.
“President Trump was very clear we’re not going to force Americans to go to Russia to be interrogated by the Russians. There’s been a lot of noise about that; I don’t know why. The American people should rest assured,” Pompeo said.
In another interview to Hugh Hewitt Show, he refused to divulge details about the summit meeting that Trump had with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
“It would be foolish for America to consistently announce everything we know. It would betray how we came to know it; it would share with them information that we don’t want them to have about our capabilities and our skillsets.
“And so, make no mistake about it, we are very clear with our adversaries, when it’s in our best interest, to share with them what we’re doing,” he said.
Pompeo in an interview with EWTN conceded that there’s been a lot of heat and very little light following that Trump-Putin press conference.
“I was there. I watched the President’s interaction with President Putin after their one-on-one meeting. The President had the objective of taking two countries that’d been on a bad path and trying to redirect that. There’s no illusion about the challenges that Russia presents to the US.
“But in places like counterterrorism and these are two nuclear-armed nations, if we can reduce the risk from those nuclear weapons. The President was aiming towards creating a channel for communication and dialogue, and he achieved that,” Pompeo added.