In a New York Times op-ed published Friday, Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), a former undercover CIA officer, bluntly lays out the case that President Donald Trump is being manipulated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Over the course of my career as an undercover officer in the C.I.A., I saw Russian intelligence manipulate many people. I never thought I would see the day when an American president would be one of them," Hurd writes.
He explains why this is dangerous.
"By playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad," Hurd says.
He reiterates the fact that the intelligence community's conclusion about Russian meddling in the 2016 election are certain.
"Our intelligence community has concluded with high confidence that President Putin personally ordered his security services to undertake an influence campaign aimed at undermining confidence in American democracy to sow chaos in our electoral system," he writes.
Hurd then outlines the tools Congress can use to counter Russian disinformation and meddling around the world.
He asks that Congress continue arming Ukraine in its fight against Russian separatists. Hurd also calls for more stringent sanctions, and legislation that might improve Ukraine's ability to counter Russian disinformation. He wants State Department head Mike Pompeo to testify before Congress about what transpired during meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and President Vladimir Putin.
Hurd also emphasizes the importance of arming the intelligence community with the tools it needs to counter Russian intelligence.
"Without action, we risk losing further credibility in international negotiations with both our friends and foes on critical trade deals, military alliances and nuclear arms."
By playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad.