- Malaysia Airlines pilots sometimes left cockpit door unlocked: U.S. businessman
- PHILLIPS: The benefits of defying ‘common wisdom’
- Judge strikes down Arkansas abortion law — nation’s toughest — as unconstitutional
- Court: Tenn. must recognize 3 same-sex marriages
- Russia claims to have downed U.S. drone over Crimea region; Pentagon denies
- John Daly shoots 90 at PGA Tour event: ‘I’m falling apart’
- Police: Man arrested in West Virginia may be linked to Alexandria killings
- Smile: Equipping cops with body-mounted cameras gains steam in Calif., N.Y.
- Obama to sign bill cutting taxpayer money for party conventions
- Half of Americans worried about second Cold War: poll
Boehner to Obama: Clarify your hot mic comments to Medvedev
With President Obama back in the U.S. after his trip to South Korea, Speaker John A. Boehner sent him a letter demanding answers about comments he made to the president of Russia earlier this week that were caught on a hot mic.
“I and other members of the House have previously expressed concern about your administration’s apparent willingness to make unilateral concessions to Russia that undermine our missile defense capabilities,” the Ohio Republican wrote. “Your comments reinforce these worries.”
On Monday at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, Mr. Obama leaned over and whispered to outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense after the 2012 elections, and said Mr. Putin needs to give him some “space” when he takes office in May.
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney seized on the remarks, arguing that Russia is “without question our No. 1 foe.”
“They fight every cause for the world’s worst actors,” he said. “The idea that he has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.”
Mr. Boehner raised similar concerns and reminded the president that the House passed legislation prohibiting the administration from making any agreements to diminish U.S. missile defense capacity without congressional authority or treaty.
“The Russian government has not lived up to its obligations to support the world community in reining in the rogue nations of Iran, Syria, and North Korea,” he wrote. “On the contrary, Russia has at times offered support for these dangerous regimes. And it is increasingly evident that Russia is intent on expanding its boundaries through hostile acts - including invading a neighboring American ally.”
Mr. Obama addressed the issue at the summit and attempted to clarify his remarks.
“Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries,” he said. “I don’t think it’s any surprise that you can’t start that a few months before presidential and congressional elections in the United States, and at a time when they just completed elections in Russia [EnLeader] The only way I get this stuff done is if I’m consulting with the Pentagon, with Congress, if I’ve got bipartisan support and frankly, the current environment is not conducive to those kinds of thoughtful consultations.”
“I ask that you explain what greater ‘flexibility’ on missile defense you were suggesting Mr. Putin could expect in a second term,” he wrote. “With Congress‘ expressed interest in this matter and America’s objective of preventing rogue states from launching missile strikes, it is important to know what changes you are contemplating or offering. Further, what actions does your administration believe the Russians have taken that warrant any change in our missile defense policy?”
“A misguided missile defense policy would have far-reaching consequences, and any concessions you may have under consideration require an open and thorough justification,” he continued. “A post-election surprise on this critical issue would not be welcomed by the American people, the Congress, or the world community.”
Earlier this week, Mr. Boehner refrained from joining fellow Republicans in criticizing Mr. Obama over the hot mic comments.
“When the president is overseas,” Mr. Boehner told reporters, “I think it’s appropriate that people not be critical of him or our country.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By David A. Clarke Jr.
Blame Washington's intelligence failure, not lack of police
- CURL: We completely overhauled American health care to insure 4.2 million people?
- California gun store owner refuses to hand over customer list
- Bill Maher: God a 'psychotic mass murderer' who 'drowns babies'
- Firefighters discover church's Bible in Harlem rubble following gas explosion
- Crimea votes in favor of secession, U.S. rejects
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Trust me: Obama promises new overtime rules will be 'easier for everyone'
- McCaul offers scenario where missing Malaysian jet lands in hostile country to be use as missile
- EXCLUSIVE: FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014