August 7th, 2013
09:08 AM ET
12 months ago

Schumer: Putin stuck a knife into the U.S.

Updated 9:46 a.m. ET, 8/7/2013

(CNN) – President Barack Obama canceled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month, according to a White House official.

The decision came not long after Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer reiterated his call for the White House to reconsider the scheduled summit, following the country's decision to grant temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Obama cancels talks with Putin ahead of G-20 summit

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN's "New Day," the New York senator also addressed immigration reform, saying he'd be comfortable if the House passes legislation step-by-step as it prefers, rather than approving one large, comprehensive package.

"We would much prefer it be a comprehensive bill, but any way the House can get there is OK by us," he said.

On Russia, Obama confirmed Tuesday night that he still plans on attending the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg in September despite calls from some lawmakers for the U.S. to boycott the gathering.

Until Wednesday morning the White House, however, had not given a firm answer on whether the president was still planning to attend the separate bilateral meeting with Putin in Moscow before the summit. White House press secretary Jay Carney said they were evaluating "the utility of a summit."

The meeting was scheduled before Snowden sought refuge in Russia, further complicating the U.S.-Russia relationship .

Schumer said he doubted the president would sit down with the Russian president, especially after the country approved temporary asylum for the NSA leaker last week.

"Look, Putin doesn't deserve the respect after what he's done with Snowden," the senator said. "He goes out of his way to stick the knife into the United States."

Schumer has been a sharp critic of Putin this summer, saying the Russian president is shattering the country's already-fragile relationship with the U.S.

"I know what he is doing. I mean he's trying to make Russia a big power again. But there are good ways and bad ways to do it. Good way build up the economy, create some freedom and strength," he said. "Bad way, step on somebody else's back. That's what he is doing."

After the White House made the decision to nix the meeting later Wednesday morning, Schumer said in a statement the president "clearly made the right decision."

Schumer, one of the members of the bipartisan Gang of Eight that drafted the Senate immigration bill, expressed optimism that the House can get immigration reform done.

"I've had a lot of discussions with various members of both parties in the House," he said. "Things are moving in the right direction."

"If they pass individual smaller bills, they'll all get agglomerated as we go to conference at some point," Schumer added. "I'm not dictating to the House what they should do."

He added, however, that there are "bottom lines" for the Senate, including some kind of path to citizenship.

– CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Filed under: Charles Schumer • Russia
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Separook bin Feinstein

    Putin has done the right thing.

    August 7, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. danR

    Well, it's cancelled. Obama prefers the company of people like perjurers James Clapper.

    August 7, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Hector Slagg

    Humm,
    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it must be a duck. From all appearences, it doesn't appear Obama is cut out for making the hard decisions in Foreign Affairs.

    As far as Immigration Reform goes, the people made their decision back during the Bush Admiistration. I doubt that has changed. The front door is open. The back door is closed. Sorry.

    August 7, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  4. Larry in Houston

    I agree with Shumer . . . only thing is : if Eisenhower was still living, and our POTUS, I can guarantee you he would never back down from Putin. He wasn't "scared" of anyone. too bad, but that is who we've got to put up with.

    August 7, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Putin is only doing what Bush did to him for years. Bush totally disrespected Putin. Bush thumbed his nose. He wouldn't even talk to the man, and now Putin is returning the snubs.

    August 7, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Data Driven

    Ok, Chuck, you're a tough guy. No, seriously!

    Pffft.

    August 7, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  7. john thomas

    Schumer is an idiot, and Obama has taken the low road to obscurity. This childish decision to not play with Putin is the beginning of lame duck status for Obama...

    August 7, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I think the admimistration should have slapped back by having Putin speak with someone from the U.S. of lower rank than POTUS. Biden or Kerry would have served the role nicely. Let Putin speak to an unequal. If he doesn't like it, let him cancel.

    August 7, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. TGD

    Obama would rather meet with some celebrities.

    August 7, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Data Driven

    "Obama would rather meet with some celebrities"

    Let me get this straight: conservatives would prefer Obama to go kiss Putin's ring?

    BREAKING: Hatred Breeds Inconsistency for Conservatives.

    August 7, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. A True Conservative

    Yea....Obama had the late night shows to go visit...he has no time for actual world leaders.....

    August 7, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |