Rep. Lee Zeldin to Newsmax: Failures on Ukraine Happened Despite Early Intel (Newsmax's "America Right Now")
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 16 April 2022 05:21 PM
Reports this week the CIA knew last fall that Russia would invade Ukraine further display the Biden administrations' failures to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to move forward with his deadly attacks, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., told Newsmax.
"If you're going to take inventory of different instruments of national power aside from military, you're going to look at possible sanctions that you could put on the table as a threat," Zeldin told Saturday's "America Right Now." "You have to create enough of a deterrent effect or the sanctions regime is just not going to have the desired effect. Clearly, that was the case in this situation, because Putin decided to invade Ukraine."
Further, the early warning would have allowed work with the international community to share what was known, Zeldin said.
"Words matter," he continued. "We saw from the president, the vice president, and others that they were making errors in the way that they were conveying the United States' position once this was starting, but also in the weeks [before the invasion]."
But when Biden implied he could consider a "green light of a minor incursion," the "damage was done" where Russia is concerned, Zeldin said.
"It's important to communicate that all options are on the table," he continued. "There was nothing wrong with them saying all options were on the table.
"The communication from the administration was also a contributing factor."
Meanwhile, there is increasing concern over whether Russia will eventually use nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine, and Zeldin said, if that happens, "the consequences can be catastrophic for the whole world."
The United States has been prepared for decades for a nuclear strike, but "you could also argue that no one in the world will ever be prepared because of that this means this can get a lot worse very quickly," said Zeldin, adding it is the role of the United States to deescalate tensions.
The congressman, who is a candidate for governor of New York, also hit out at incumbent Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul, after Lt. Gov. Michael Benjamin's resignation over campaign finance corruption charges.
"She owns all of this," Zeldin said. "He wasn't just an advocate of the defund the police agenda; he was the champion of the defunding police agenda in the New York State Senate. That should have disqualified him."
Hochul, he added, has stood up for Benjamin all along, but he did not resign until he was indicted.
"She chose to own all of this," Zeldin concluded. "It shows her really bad judgment from this very first important decision when she became governor, covering for him."
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