Democratic Rep. who signed withdrawn letter on Ukraine said nobody told them it was getting released: CNN

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Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden
A composite of two file photos showing Russia’s Vladimir Putin and President Joe Biden.

  • A controversial letter went out without those who signed it knowing, per a Rep. who spoke to CNN.
  • 30 progressive Democrats signed a letter urging diplomacy with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Some said they signed it months ago, when the situation was very different, CNN reported. 

A signatory to the now-withdrawn letter from progressive Democrats urging a softer approach to Russia said they had no idea the letter was going to be released, per CNN.

The member of Congress — who was not named — told the outlet they would have backed out had they known the document would be published this week.

“They didn’t check back with the signers before releasing it,” the member said, referring to the office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who published it.

Unnamed aides to other members of Congress told CNN the same thing.

According to Politico, the letter was drafted in June, when it received several signatures, and continued to be circulated in August.

It was updated and shared with further lawmakers to bring it to 30 signatures, several anonymous sources said, but it otherwise wasn’t recirculated with signatories before its release on Monday, the outlet reported. 

Jayapal’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, sent out of office hours. 

The letter, dated Monday, asked President Joe Biden to “to pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push.”

It was signed by 30 progressive Democrats including “Squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley. It received intense criticism from fellow Democrats, and on Tuesday Jayapal withdrew it.  

Critics were concerned that an offer of diplomatic talks could be seen as absolving alleged war crimes of President Vladimir Putin, who has demonstrated no credible interest in viable peace talks, as Insider’s John Haltiwanger reported

The letter was also seen as undermining Democratic resolve to support Ukraine at a time when some Republicans such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have signaled they want to reduce aid.  

In withdrawing the letter, Jayapal said it “was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting.” 

Some found that hard to believe. Insider’s Nicole Gaudiano spoke to an unnamed former Hill staffer familiar with Jayapal’s operation, who said the idea the Rep. would not have known was “absurd.”

Politico too cited a source familiar with the situation saying Jayapal personally signed off on the letter.

At least one Democrat, Rep. Ro Khanna, continued to endorse the letter as of Tuesday, CNN reported.

Some said they were happy with the letter when they signed it, but have changed their mind as the invasion continued.

Rep. Sarah Jacobs was one of them, tweeting: “I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I wouldn’t sign it today.”

Since June, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces have mounted a counter-offensive that made striking and rapid gains throughout the north and east of the country, and continues to make steady progress there and in the south.

Meanwhile, Putin has mobilized reserve forces and caused widespread alarm with new  references to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. 

The anonymous member who said that Jayapal’s office did not check back with signatories before the letter’s release told CNN that the “timing is terrible.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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