Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Russia on Thursday of “stabbing us in the back” by granting one-year asylum to National Security Agency leak source Edward Snowden, and he urged President Barack Obama to recommend moving the G-20 summit scheduled to take place in Russia this September.
“Russia has stabbed us in the back, and each day that Mr. Snowden is allowed to roam free is another twist of the knife,” Schumer said in a scathing statement.
He went on to call Snowden a “coward.”
“Others who have practiced civil disobedience in the past have stood up and faced the charges because they strongly believed in what they were doing,” Schumer said. “Mr. Snowden is a coward who has chosen to run. Given Russia’s decision today, the President should recommend moving the G-20 summit.”
Schumer’s sentiment was perhaps the strongest reaction to the news from Thursday morning. The White House said it was “extremely disappointed” in Russia. Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that the White House might cancel a trip to Moscow for a different summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but did not specify any change in plans to attend the G-20 summit.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have also come out to condemn Russia’s actions.
“Russia’s action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans,” they said in a joint statement. “Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today’s action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions.”
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