Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., NY.) criticized Russia, and President Vladimir Putin, for “aiding and abetting” NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who left Hong Kong for Moscow Sunday morning.
“What’s infuriating here is … Putin of Russia aiding and abetting Snowden’s escape,” Schumer said. “The bottom line is very simple, allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways and Putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the United States, whether it is Syria, Iran, and now of course with Snowden. That’s not how allies should treat one another, and I think it will have serious consequences for the US Russia relationship.”
Schumer did not elaborate on what specific consequences there may be.
“We have all kinds of relationships with Russia … that are both political, diplomatic, economic and I don’t think we can shrug our shoulders and say ‘this is the how Putin is,’” Schumer said.
The senator’s comments came shortly after it was announced that Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong and land in Moscow, though that is not his “final destination.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) said, “Russia is a country that wants to be back on the world stage, and I don’t think they really care if they do it in a way that’s in the best interests of good citizenship around the world. This shouldn’t surprise us. They have a very aggressive intelligence operation in the United States, I’m sure they would love to have a little bit of coffee and a few conversations with Mr. Snowden.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Face the Nation that she was surprised Snowden had left Hong Kong.
“I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations with the U.S. and extradite him to the United States. China clearly had a role in this, in my view.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) suggested there would be “consequences” if Russia did not turn Snowden over.
“I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the earth to bring him to justice and let the Russians know that there will be consequences if they harbor this guy,” Graham said on Fox News Sunday. “If they want to be part of the world community, the WTO, if they want a good relationship with the U.S., they should hold this felon and send him back home for justice.”
According to Wikileaks, whose legal advisers are escorting Snowden, “He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum.”
Immigration reform, which will be closely watched this week as the Senate votes on the Gang of Eight’s bill, was also discussed. With the addition of the Corker-Hoeven Amendment the legislation is expected to pass the Senate with somewhere “in the neighborhood of 70 votes,” according to Schumer.
Passage in the House is less certain.
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who noted he did not intend to vote in favor of the legislation, told CNN’s Candy Crowley, “It’ll pass the Senate, but it’s dead on arrival in the House.”
Democrats appeared more optimistic.
“I think there will be pressure for Boehner to bring a bill similar to the Senate bill,” Schumer said. “If it’s similar to the Senate bill or the Senate bill itself, and he might even have to do that, you’ll get most Democrats voting for it and you will get a good number of Republicans even, if not a majority.”
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D., Tx.) expressed a similar sentiment on ABC’s This Week: “It’s got to pass with strong momentum in the Senate to have a chance in the House.”
Castro added, “if it does that, I think it actually has a good chance, and I still believe we can pass it in 2013.”
Last week the farm bill, a bill that was expected to pass the House with a reasonable margin, failed with bipartisan opposition in a 195 to 234 vote.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) blamed Republicans for its failure, noting the “Republicans have the majority of Congress and it’s their responsibility to send a bill,” but they “didn’t get results.” Some have pointed to this as evidence that the Speaker may have difficulty getting immigration reform through the House.
The Senate is expected to vote on immigration Monday.