“We are exploring what are the leverage points. I’m trying to put together a package to let the Russians know how serious we are,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The Daily Beast in an interview. “We have to respond, this is a defining moment in the relationship.”
Graham declined to elaborate on what his “package” of items to pressure Russia might include. For some Republicans such as Graham and his cohort Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Putin’s handling of the Snowden issue is only the latest sign that Russia is backsliding when it comes to democracy and the rule of law.
“This government has been corrupted. They don’t have a real legislature. All institutions of democracies have been diminished in Russia and when people do that inside their country they are not generally inclined to follow the rule of law outside their country,” Graham said. “I’m just amazing that we don’t get what Putin’s up to. He’s trying to recreate the old Soviet Union attitude and image.”
Senior Democrats also lashed out at Putin over his handling of the Snowden case.