On Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “State of the Union,” New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for his part in whistleblower Edward Snowden’s flight from Hong Kong to Moscow overnight.
Schumer first criticized Hong Kong and the Chinese government for their involvement, then condemned Putin for warning of “consequences” for the U.S.-Russia relationship.
“Well, first, very disappointing what Hong Kong has done,” Schumer said. “It remains to be seen how much influence Beijing had on Hong Kong. As you know, they coordinate their foreign policies and I have a feeling the hand of Beijing was involved here.”
“What’s infuriating here is Prime Minister Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” Schumer continued. “The bottom line is very simple, allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways, and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran, and now, of course, with Snowden. That’s not how allies should treat one another, and I think it will have serious consequences for the United States-Russia relationship.”
According to Schumer, there had been a trend of which Putin was causing problems for the U.S. and he reiterated the impact it would have the nation’s relationship with Russia.
“You know, I always — it seems to me that Mr. Putin is almost eager to stick a finger in the eye of the United States,” he continued. “In so many different areas, he does not cooperate. Very few are the areas in which he does cooperate these days. And I think this action, Putin allowing Snowden to land in Russia and then go somewhere else, is going to have serious consequences for U.S.-Russian relationship.”
As far as the United States’ action from here, Schumer said it was likely the U.S. was asking for cooperation with the Russian government. But he also said Snowden’s flight doesn’t measure up with other “human rights crusaders.”
“Absolutely, it’s very, very likely that we are asking Russia to hold him,” he added. “Whether Russia does that or not, I don’t know. But the fact that they were allowing him to land indicates we’re not in a phase of cooperation pretty much for sure. And you know, Snowden — look, let’s look at Snowden here. You know, some might try to say that, oh, he’s a great human rights crusader. He is not at all like the great human rights crusaders in the past, the Martin Luther Kings or the Gandhis who did civil disobedience because he — first, he flees the country. Daniel Ellsberg, when he released the Pentagon Papers because he thought it was the right thing to do, stayed in America and faced the consequences”