'We Don't Want to be Converted by Russia,' Senator Warns
"You can't deal with them in a sense that we're going to get along. What they've already done, you've seen aggression against U.S. interests. They're determined to compromise democratic institutions. They're spending billions of dollars infiltrating using democratic institutions against itself," Cardin continued.
"We don't want to be converted by Russia. We want preserved democratic institutions and the international for leadership. If we start to make nice with Russia with their activities in Ukraine and their activities in Syria, preventing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, compromising their ability to go against ISIL, what we're doing is playing into Russia, playing into a greater Russia. And that is bad for democracy and bad for freedom around the world."
Cardin vowed that in Congress "there are going to be many of us, Democrats and Republicans" who "will be very active in regards to what we can do against Russia."
After Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke this month, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said "at the very least, the price of another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people."
"That is an unacceptable price for a great nation," said McCain, who sponsored the Magnitsky Act with Cardin. "When America has been at its greatest, it is when we have stood on the side of those fighting tyranny. That is where we must stand again.”
Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who stepped down in August and has strong lobbying ties to pro-Putin Ukrainians, was seen by the traveling press pool entering Trump Tower this morning.
Cardin stressed that it's "critically important" Trump "puts his assets in a blind trust or sells his assets" because "we do not know his business dealings in Russia."
"If he has business dealings in Russia, we don't know how that is used to try to influence U.S. policy decisions," he said. "That's why it's extremely important that the president does not have any potential conflicts in dealing with any country around the world."
Cardin is introducing a resolution next week calling on Trump to not run afoul of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution and "convert his assets to simple, conflict-free holdings, adopt blind trusts, or take other equivalent measures," the senator's office said.
The resolution "will note that in the absence of such actions by the President-elect before he assumes office or specific authorization by Congress, Congress will regard dealings by Trump-owned companies with any entity owned by a foreign government as potential violations of the Constitution."