“I have to say that they know our president is weak,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “They’re playing on it, and they’re enjoying it very, very much — Putin in particular — and it irritates the heck out of me.”
The public rebuff proved too much to bear even for members who are not usually outspoken hawks, coming just days after Obama extolled the two countries’ “constructive, cooperative relationship” on issues like nuclear non-proliferation after meeting with Putin at the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland.
“It’s up to the administration to send a very strong signal,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence panel. “I think it’s telling that the Russians feel they can ignore an extradition request from this administration. That’s certainly not a good sign, nor a sign of respect.”