WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today delivered the following remarks during a hearing on U.S.-Russia relations. The hearing is the second in a series examining U.S. policy toward Russia.
“We want to thank our witnesses for being here today for the second in a series of hearings on Russia.
“This committee is attempting to get a clearer sense of the administration’s overall posture on Russia. And again, we thank you both for being here. We have outstanding witnesses today.
“We would like to understand what was agreed to when the leaders of our two countries sat down in Helsinki. Were there discussions regarding current or future arms control agreements? What other promises or assurances were made? To date, we have received no real readout – even in a classified setting – of this meeting.
“We would like to understand the administration’s assessment of the threat posed by Russia – to us, to our allies, and to other countries and institutions around the world.
“Finally, we need a better understanding of how Russia sanctions this committee wrote last year, and the Senate passed by a vote of 98 to 2 despite strong objections from the White House, are being implemented.
“Russia has annexed Crimea; occupied parts of Georgia; interfered with elections, including our own; violated the INF treaty – remains in violation; used chemical weapons to poison individuals in the United Kingdom; and even purportedly hacked U.S. utilities.
“These offenses are bad enough, but they leave us wondering, ‘What’s next? What does the administration expect that they will next do?'
“The past teaches us that even worse things may lay just over the horizon if we fail to push back now and make clear to President Putin that our nation is united – from the very top to the bottom – in standing against his destabilizing behavior, both in policy and in public posture.
“It is my hope that today you will reassure the members of this committee that our executive branch is doing all in its power to convince the Russians not to continue testing our resolve.
“We thank you both again for your service to our country, for being here today before this committee, and we look forward to your testimony.”
Click here for complete testimony and video footage from the hearing.