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Lone Star Project Report

Cruz and Cornyn Go Soft on Putin to Protect Trump Nominee

Texas Republicans give cover to Rex Tillerson after he denies even discussing Russia with Trump

Texans expecting Ted Cruz or John Cornyn to put concerns about U.S. security and Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election ahead of their loyalty to Donald Trump should drastically lower their expectations. 
 
Yesterday, during Senate hearings to review the qualifications of Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, both Cruz and Cornyn provided cover and engaged in damage control when Tillerson refused to acknowledge that he has even discussed Russia with Donald Trump or his transition team.
 
What happened?
Early during his Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson was asked a straight-forward series of questions by US Senator Bob Menendez (D – New Jersey) regarding Russia.  Surely the questions were expected given the heavy coverage, both before and after the election, on confirmed reports that Russia interfered in the election to assist Donald Trump. Incredibly, Tillerson claimed that he and Trump had “not had the opportunity to discuss this particular issue or this particular area”.  Senator Menendez understandably remarked, “That’s pretty amazing”.
 
Cruz and Cornyn are complicit in Tillerson dodge on Russia
It is simply not credible to believe that Rex Tillerson has not engaged in discussions with Trump regarding Putin’s intervention in our election and the long term threat Russia poses to the United States. Both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn endorsed Rex Tillerson, even before the Senate hearings and, in doing so, set themselves up as surrogates responsible for his answers.
 
Cruz and Cornyn reverse field and go soft on Russia
When it suited their partisan politics, both Cornyn and Cruz talked tough on Russia.  In fact, Ted Cruz once fiercely promoted foreign policy that “puts Putin on notice that the United States is reclaiming our traditional role as leader of the free world”.  Apparently, Donald Trump’s warm views on Russia and his submissive relationship with Vladimir Putin have softened up Cruz and Cornyn too.
 
Yesterday’s hearing made clear that even the highest appointed U.S. foreign policy officials under Donald Trump will not give straight answers on the dangerous relationship Trump has developed with Russia and its authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin. Texans must depend on John McCain or more responsible leaders from other states to demand accountability, because we certainly won’t see it from Ted Cruz or John Cornyn.