See below for video and a transcript of Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA07) speaking this morning on CNN about the Russian war on Ukraine and the need for the U.S. to continue to “deliver on support for the people of Ukraine to fight back against Putin’s horrific and unprovoked war.”
Rep. Abigail Spanberger: “This money is absolutely an investment that the American people are making in supporting our Ukrainian allies, but also in supporting the cause of democracy throughout the world. I think it’s important to remember that while we are making substantial investments in Ukraine, we are also leading the way for our allies throughout the world to do the same. We are not alone in providing substantial support, and we have led our partners and allies in the provision of aid, be it lethal aid, humanitarian aid, and also in sanctioning Russian oligarchs and those who are behind and supporting this horrific invasion and war in Ukraine. So I am proud to support this additional provision of aid; it is vitally important that we continue to support the Ukrainian people as they fight for their own democracy and the cause of democracy worldwide.
…So there’s a couple of things that that I bring to this conversation. One, I’m a former CIA officer I worked undercover with the CIA for the entirety of my time [there]. And among the things that I focused on was understanding the threat of covert influence coming at us, and certainly our work throughout the world to understand the Russian threat towards the United States, towards our people and more broadly around the world. And what we have here, unfortunately, is people who are falling prey to Russian talking points, to Putin’s talking points, the idea that Putin continues to try and divide the United States, not only here domestically, but divide us from our allies, create divisions and sow distrust or dissension among our ranks. And so the conversations I’ve been having with colleagues are very simple: do not fall prey to Vladimir Putin’s talking points; do not give any favor or support to what it is that he would try and push…which is kind of denigrating Ukraine, changing the world’s view of what has been a brutal war where they are murdering and raping civilians and just horrific atrocities.
And importantly, we are investing in their ability to fight their war. The Ukrainians are asking us for aid, they’re asking us for the weapon systems that we have that will allow them to continue fighting on their own. They have shown tremendous bravery, tremendous resilience. And what they have been asking from us from the very beginning is access to…our weapon systems and…support to their efforts to wage this war. And notably, there’s no reason to believe that once Putin if he were to conquer Ukraine that he would stop there. And importantly, as a member of the NATO alliance, the United States should remember – and certainly every elected official should remember – that at the minute they cross into a NATO country, that’s the point in time when it is U.S soldiers who are being asked to to join that fight. And that is an eventuality that we have the ability to never see, by making these investments and allowing the Ukrainian people to fight their own war and support them in doing it.
And when it comes to funding, this funding bill supports domestic priorities here at home fighting the opioid crisis investing in mental health Provisions that I put forth that have been included in this legislation major support to our border security hiring additional CBP officers investing in technology so that we can stop the scourge of fentanyl that’s being trafficked by transnational criminal organizations across our border and leading to the deaths of people across our communities we can do both we must do both and that’s the message that I’ve certainly been delivering to my colleagues.
…I absolutely agree [that Trump should never hold office again], it’s why I voted to impeach him when he tried to leverage support for Ukraine and military aid to Ukraine, trying to extort a political favor from President Zelensky. It’s why I voted to impeach him for inciting an insurrection as he did on January 6th. And certainly anyone who would stoke that type of violence, lie to the American people over and over, and bring about the eventuality that we saw on January 6th – and has not backed down from those lies and those incitements to violence ever since – should not hold public office ever again.”