A day after NSA leaker Edward Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York warned that there should be “repercussions” against Russian President Vladimir Putin should he grant Snowden’s request.
“On both sides of the aisle, myself included, there is total exasperation with Mr. Putin. He seems to go out of his way to figure out ways to trip up the United States,” Schumer, the Democratic conference vice chairman, said on Wednesday’s The Daily Rundown.
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina went even further, telling NBC News that the United States should consider boycotting the upcoming Winter Olympic Games if asylum is granted.
“I don’t know whether we should go that far,” Schumer said, despite his clear frustration with the Russian leader’s bravado in world affairs.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio also told reporters Wednesday morning that he strongly disagreed with Graham’s idea of threatening to boycott the Sochi Olympics.
“Listen, I love Senator Graham, we’ve been close friends for 20 years, but I think he’s dead wrong,” Boehner said.
Schumer, who was an integral part of this week’s Senate filibuster negotiations, said that a deal could not have been done without Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
“We worked together long and hard at his initiative,” Schumer noted.
“Nobody really wanted to break the rules,” Schumer said, adding that he was pleased that a rule change, or the so-called nuclear option, was averted.
Despite this flash of bipartisanship, Schumer still blamed the showdown on GOP’s ill motives.
“They didn’t want the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] to function. And that is wrong and outrageous,” Schumer said.
And Schumer said he believed that posturing could sour GOP’s 2014 prospects to gain back the majority, even though Democrats still face a daunting map.
The former head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said that while the announcement this past weekend that former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who would have been a strong candidate, would not run for Senate, he remains optimistic about the outlook for Democrats in 2014.
“The macro picture is quite better for us even if we don’t have our prime candidate in Montana,” Schumer said.