Republicans slam Biden’s ‘total surrender’ to Russia by dropping opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline: Ted Cruz says Putin should ‘thank’ Joe by ‘asking oligarch to buy $500K Hunter painting’
- The Biden administration could formally drop opposition to the pipeline today
- The pipeline, which would double Germany’s direct natural gas intake from Russia, only had roughly 62 more miles until completion as of early June
- GOP Senator Tom Cotton called the White House’s move a ‘terrible mistake’
- Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo upped the ante, calling it a ‘tragedy’
- Other prominent Republicans and one Democrat also voiced their opposition
- A dominant concern is over the effects the pipeline’s operation would have on Ukraine, which currently receives about $3b per year from Russia for gas transit
- Ukraine’s president is set to visit the White House in August, Jen Psaki says
- Psaki’s statement also underscored US commitment to Ukraine ‘energy security’
The Biden administration is expected to drop the US’s years-long opposition to a new natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as early as today, earning swift backlash from top Republicans.
‘This is a terrible mistake, it’s a mistake that’s opposed by both parties in Congress. It’s just another example of the pathetic appeasement of Joe Biden for Vladimir Putin,’ Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said on Fox News Wednesday.
On top of ‘costing’ American jobs, Cotton claims the move empowers Russia and ‘badly undercuts our allies and partners in Eastern Europe like Poland and Ukraine, who Joe Biden is now apparently pressuring to stay silent.’
Senator Ted Cruz said it amounted to Biden’s ‘total surrender’ to Vladimir Putin on Twitter.
Cruz also tweeted: If you’re Putin & you want to thank Biden for his multi-billion $ gift of Nord Stream 2, you can ask an oligarch to buy a $500K Hunter Biden painting.
‘Paying more than 3 TIMES what a Picasso just sold for ($150K). And the White House will keep it secret!’
Biden has promised he would be tough on Putin following a series of ransomware attacks on US businesses and infrastructure.
But Republicans believe dropping opposition to the pipeline is a national security threat and will undermine the energy independence of the United States.
Officials in Washington and Berlin reportedly reached an agreement that would allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which was roughly within 62 miles of completion as of June – to finish construction.
U.S. officials under Presidents Obama and Trump opposed the pipeline, arguing it would strengthen Moscow’s influence across Europe.
The pipeline would also allow Germany to bypass an existing natural gas route through Ukraine by doubling the volume of gas exported directly to Germany from Russia – weakening the former Soviet state’s tenuous position in the region.
Nord Stream already includes one pipeline running from Russia to Germany. Both are owned by a company whose majority shareholder is Russian state gas company Gazprom.
Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business on Wednesday that the Biden administration’s abrupt policy shift is a ‘terrible tragedy’ that only benefits two parties – Russian oligarchs and German elites.
‘It undermines the Ukrainians, it undermines our friends in Poland, it undermines the United States and NATO. It is now the case that the Russians will have enormous influence over German energy,’ Pompeo said.
‘Imagine in a time of conflict if things go wrong – imagine what the Russians would do with that.’
He accused Biden of giving an ‘energy lifeline to the Russians.’
Officials familiar with the deal told the Wall Street Journal that measures to cushion Ukraine’s financial blow would also be part of the US and Germany’s agreement.
Part of that reportedly includes vague measures to ensure Russia still pays about $3 billion in transit fees to the country each year under a current agreement that lasts until 2024.
The White House affirmed its commitment to Ukraine’s ‘energy security’ in a statement on Wednesday after reports of the deal emerged, announcing Biden’s plan to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House on August 30.
‘The visit will affirm the United States’ unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression in the Donbas and Crimea, our close cooperation on energy security,’ Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Senator Marsha Blackburn and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley both hinted at hypocrisy in Biden’s decision to shut down the US’s Keystone XL pipeline but greenlight Russia’s Nord Stream 2.
‘Joe Biden has given Russian pipeline workers a job and taken away the jobs of US Keystone Pipeline workers,’ the Tennessee Republican wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile Haley said Biden ‘gifted’ the pipeline to Putin.
‘Biden killed thousands of American jobs by shutting down Keystone XL and harmed our energy independence but now he’s making Russia rich,’ the former Trump administration official said.
A Democratic lawmaker joined in lambasting the deal as well – but avoided mentioning Biden.
‘I stand with our allies in Central and Eastern Europe against Nord Stream 2. The Congress must reject any deals that fail to protect transatlantic security and Ukraine’s sovereignty,’ Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur tweeted.
Biden met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House last week, where they discussed Nord Stream 2 and the topic of ‘Russian aggression.’
‘While I reiterated my concerns about Nord Stream 2, Chancellor Merkel and I are absolutely united in our conviction that Russia must not be allowed to use energy as a weapon to coerce or threaten its neighbors,’ Biden said at the Thursday press conference after their meetings.
When it was Merkel’s turn she said she and Biden have ‘come to a different assessment to what this project entails.’
‘But let me say very clearly, our idea is and remains that Ukraine remains a transit country for natural gas, that Ukraine just as any other country in the world has a right to territorial sovereignty,’ she said.
‘We should be actively acting should Russia not respect this right of Ukraine that it has as a transit country,’ she continued.
‘So Nord Stream 2 is an additional project and certainly not a project to replace any kind of transit through Ukraine, anything else would obviously create a lot of tension,’ the German chancellor added.