Issa on Obama's Remarks to Medvedev: 'He's Going to Sell Out Our National Defense After the Election'

Elizabeth Harrington | March 27, 2012 | 6:05pm EDT
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President Obama and Russian President Medvedev at summit. (AP photo)

( – House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that “the American people should be very afraid” after hearing President Barack Obama’s accidentally recorded remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday that after the election he would have more “flexibility” in dealing with the Russians.

"I judge that in fact he’s going to sell out our national defense after the election," said Issa.

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, asked Issa about the president’s remarks  to Medvedev, which were inadvertantly picked up by a microphone and recorded. “Can I ask you about the President’s remarks to the Russian president yesterday?" asked "Does he mean he’s going to be making concessions to the Russians after the election?”

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Issa responded: “Well clearly, the president has a plan to do after the election what he can’t or won’t do before the election. And he’s going to do it without ever being honest with the American people.”

“I think that’s clear,” said Issa. “Now, how much of a sell out of America’s security -- [Incoming Russian President Vladimir] Putin certainly is not on our side, doesn’t want what we want, has certainly proven to be a new generation dictator of Russia.”

“So, when he sends to the president [Medvedev] who’s about to leave office in favor of Putin coming back in and taking over officially, that we can work together to get what Putin wants, quite candidly the American people should be very afraid that any President who’s going to be flexible with Putin is going to be flexible with an enemy of America, an enemy of the West, an enemy of even delivery of oil and natural gas to people in need in the winter,” Issa said.

“Understand, it has been the Putin administration that has cut off the flow of natural gas in the winter to Eastern Europeans if they didn’t play ball with them," said Issa. "So, that’s the person that he’s quote, going to be ‘flexible’ with after the election.”

On Monday in Seoul, South Korea, President Obama thought he was speaking to Russian President Medvedev privately when live microphones caught his remarks ahead of a summit meeting on nuclear security.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him (Putin) to give me space,” Obama said.  “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

“I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” Medvedev replied.

Obama attempted to clarify his remarks on Tuesday, saying he is not “hiding the ball” on his goal to reduce nuclear stockpiles.

“Arms control is extraordinarily complex, very technical, and the only way it gets done is if you can consult and build a strong understanding, both between countries and within countries,” he said. asked Issa if President Obama owes a better explanation of his remarks, and if Congress should look into it.

“A free press should be asking the questions and trying to get answers,” Issa said. “And if they can’t get answers as to what this really meant, and an honest answer and a full answer of the kind of disclosure that would occur afterwards, then quite candidly the voters will have to decide.”

“I personally don’t think that the statements like that of a president are the subject of my committee," said Issa. "I won’t be following up on it. I think that they’re available for the press to ask and for the American people to judge."

“I, as an American citizen, was already not voting for the president,” Issa said.

“But, you know, I judge that in fact he’s going to sell out our national defense after the election or something along that line, because I know Putin to be a man who, unlike what George W. Bush said, you cannot see into his soul or his heart," said Issa. "He has been a really awful person for countries around him and for America.  And right now he’s the only--he and the Chinese are standing with Bashar Assad as people in Syria are being murdered.”

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