Sen. Lindsay Graham said on Friday that former President Donald Trump is using him to send a message to Vladimir Putin: Any “normal relationship” with a future president won’t be possible if the Russian leader invades Ukraine.
Graham shared what he called a “pretty stunning and, I think, appropriate” comment from Trump after what Fox News host Sean Hannity said was a “lengthy” meeting, the Washington Examiner reported.
“He said Putin is realizing that Biden’s weak, but he doesn’t realize that Biden won’t be around in 2024. So President Trump said today if they invade Ukraine, the Russians, it will make it impossible for any future president to have a normal relationship with Russia,” the South Carolina Republican said.
Graham added, in his opinion, that “was a pretty damn wise observation.”
He also said that Putin with Trump as president could not invade Ukraine “and get away with it.”
During a Thursday interview with Hannity, Trump again would not say if he planned to run again for the White House in 2024, but teased, “you’ll be very happy” with his decision. He also said that while he enjoyed a “very good relationship” with Putin, the massive buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine’s border, believed to be around 100,000 troops, did not happen during his term.
Regarding the situation between Russia and Ukraine, the State Department on Saturday ordered all non-essential personnel at the U.S. embassy in Kiev to leave the country as soon as Monday, Fox News reported, signaling a deteriorating situation in the region as talks between Washington and Moscow have gotten nowhere:
Next week, the State Department is also expected to encourage Americans to begin leaving Ukraine by commercial flights, “while those are still available,” one official said. …
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Late Friday night, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine announced the first shipment of ammunition had arrived as directed by President Biden.
U.S. officials say small arms ammunition constitute the bulk of the 200,000 pounds of what the State Department is calling lethal aid – needed by Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines. U.S. officials also tell Fox that Javelin anti-tank missiles are expected to arrive early next week from the Baltic states and from U.S. military stockpiles.
Russia has demanded that Ukraine never become a member of NATO, while also seeking a pullback of alliance military forces near Russian boundaries. The U.S. has not agreed to any of those terms, though it’s unclear how or if NATO will respond to any Russian incursion into Ukraine, regardless of the extent of the attack.
To that point, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Friday he believes that a Russian assault is imminent.
“My prediction is you’re going to see Russia invading Ukraine in the next month,” McCaul said Friday on a call with reporters, adding that Russia sees Biden as a “weak president” and the lack of deterrence is emboldening Putin to “conduct what could be the largest invasion in Europe since World War II.”
“The key to addressing Russian aggression is deterrence,” McCaul added in a statement to Fox News Digital. “This administration has done far too little to deter Russia from further invading Ukraine which is why I introduced the GUARD Act. This bill expedites significant additional lethal assistance to Ukraine and immediately sanctions Putin’s malign influence project, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
“Slow rolling this type of assistance and support as Kyiv sits at the epicenter of what could be the biggest conflict since World War II is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
Earlier this week in an interview with CNN, McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he sees the U.S. and Russia in “a new Cold War.”
“I do. I do, because I think [Russia President Vladimir] Putin again smells weakness here,” he said.