GOP Senator Wants Russia Listed As Terrorist State Like Iran After Putin Meeting

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Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is renewing his call to direct the Department of State to consider whether Russia should join Iran and North Korea as a known state sponsor of terrorism, just days after President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a controversial summit.

“Vladimir Putin continues to try to cause grievous harm to international peace and stability and it is time for the State Department to consider naming Russia what they are — a state sponsor of terror,” Gardner, who is also chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

Gardner cited Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, the invasion of Ukraine and Georgia, the alleged shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 over eastern Ukraine, Russia’s support of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and the suspected poison attacks against two people on British soil as cause for considering Russia to be a terrorism sponsor.

To be classified as a sponsor of terrorism, a country must “have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” according to the State Department, and only four countries are currently so designated: North Korea, Iran, Syria and Sudan. The designation brings to bear additional sanction laws and allows the U.S. to punish other nations for trading the states listed as terrorism sponsors.

Gardner proposed legislation in April that would direct the State Department to make a determination about classifying Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism list within 90 days. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Gardner said in a press conference Tuesday that he “[hopes] that legislation will be heard soon.” (RELATED: Trump On Putin Meeting: Nothing Will Be ‘Good Enough’ For Dems, Establishment Media)

Trump met with Putin Monday in Helsinki, and Republicans have been mostly critical of how the president handled the meeting. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain called it the “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in recent memory.” House Speaker Paul Ryan said “the president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.” Newt Gingrich, an ardent Trump supporter, said the meeting was the “most serious mistake” of Trump’s presidency.

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