Former secretary of state slams Trump for using US citizens as 'bait'


Madeleine Albright called out Trump's refusal to protect American diplomats as 'outrageous.'

The Trump administration's willingness to entertain turning U.S. citizens over to Vladimir Putin drew stinging criticism from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who called the situation "outrageous."

On Thursday morning's edition of CNN's "New Day," anchor John Berman asked Albright for her reaction to the Trump White House's public decision to consider handing former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul — and others — over to Putin for interrogation.

"Outrageous," Albright said, "because the ambassadors are there representing the United States, we have to be supportive of them. It is the whole process of diplomacy, and this not only undermines Mike McFaul, who is really an incredibly good and smart diplomat, and somebody who understands Russia, but everybody."

"Every diplomat now," Albright continued, "because the jobs are very hard, and it is the job of the State Department, and the secretary of state, and the president of the United States, to stand behind our ambassadors, and not just kind of put them out there for bait. I think it's outrageous."

As of Wednesday, the White House was still considering the idea, rather than protecting American citizens — and especially a top former diplomat — from the clutches of an authoritarian dictator's sham justice system.

Albright, who served as U.S. secretary of state during the Clinton administration, is also all too familiar with authoritarian dictators, having been forced to flee what was then Czechoslovakia as an infant after the rise of Adolph Hitler.

Her assessment of the Trump administration's actions with regard to McFaul is spot on. By even considering such a plan, Trump is striking at the very foundation of U.S. diplomacy, and placing Russia's corrupt system of justice on a level playing field with our own.

That Trump might actually hand McFaul over to Putin ought to be unthinkable, but Trump's relatively brief term in office has erased that word from the American political vocabulary.

The only real question remaining is, Will Republicans do anything about it while they have the power to? Unfortunately, recent history says they won't.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.