In an interview with FoxNews’s Shannon Bream on Friday night, New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith called for the Russian officials who have been indicted for meddling in American elections to be red noticed by Interpol. A red notice is a request by the Justice Department to the international law enforcement agency to locate and arrest an individual for the purpose of extradition.
In his five minute appearance with Bream, Rep Smith indicated that Pyotr Tolstoy, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Duma (parliament)tipped his hand regarding knowledge of Russian hacking during the 2016 U.S. election during their bilateral meeting in Berlin last Saturday. Smith said that Tolstoy denied Russian government complicity in the election meddling, blaming it on 13 rogue hackers. 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by a U.S.Grand Jury on Friday. “What happens if we have 26 hackers out of Russian,” Smith reported that Tolstoy said. “Clearly he had some inside information that he did not want to convey to us,” Smith said of Tolstoy. “Now we know more about that with today’s indictments.”
Smith recounted how he and the U.S. delegation who met with Tolstoy and the Russian delegation during a sideline meeting at the 27th Annual Session of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Parliamentary Assembly last week, pressed the Russians on Crimea, Ukraine, human trafficking, and political killings, in addition to the election meddling.
Rep Smith said that he believes President Donald Trump will be strong in confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin on these and other issues when the two leaders meet in Helsinki, Finland on Monday.
Update: A transcript of the segment provided by Congressman Smith’s office:
SHANNON BREAM: The Senate’s top Democrat says it would be “an insult to our democracy” to have our President showing up and getting chummy with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Well our next guest has been meeting with Russian officials himself to discuss a number of these hot-button issues. He’s back in the States now, Congressman Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, joins us. Great to have you with us.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-NJ): Shannon, thank you very much.
BREAM: Now listen, I know, these cyber attacks are things you have been warning about for years. Your own office was targeted more than ten years ago.
REP. SMITH: In 2006, and again in 2007, the Chinese hacked my computers. As you know, I work very, very strongly and aggressively on human rights abuses, trying to combat them all over the world, especially in China. And they took our emails, they took all things related—I was working on a bill then called the Global Online Freedom Act, because Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and Microsoft were very complicit working with the Chinese on censorship. So I had a big hearing on it. And they invaded my computers. I wasn’t the only one. Frank Wolf had it happen to his computers as well. So this is nothing new. The Pentagon is fending off attacks 24/7, hacking and attempts at cyber terror against them, and trying to glean our secrets from that. So it’s something we need to be ever vigilant on. And certainly, as Pompeo said not long ago, this isn’t the first time that the Russians have tried to influence elections. I do think we have to be very aggressive with the Russians and say not now, we want a full accountability.
Shannon, you probably heard people repeatedly saying “why don’t we just extradite the 12?” There’s no extradition treaty with the Russians. And even if there was, there’s no way Vladimir Putin would put them on a plane…to be prosecuted. But there is another alternative. And that is to Red Notice, using INTERPOL, the 12 and the others too that have been indicted too from Russia, Red Notice them so that any time they travel anywhere, particularly with one of our allies, these intel officials could be apprehended and then transferred to the United States for full prosecution. So they have to stay in Russia or else. And I think Red Noticing should be done immediately by the Department of Justice.
BREAM: Okay, that’s a very interesting option. Not a lot of folks know about that. I want to present a couple of things, Senator John McCain, obviously a Republican, says this: “President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world. If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward.”
The President says he’s going, he says he’s going to bring it up, he says he’s brought it up with him before and he says “it wasn’t us, we didn’t do it.” Where do we go from there?
REP. SMITH: Well you know Shannon, just last week on Saturday, I led a bilateral meeting with the Russians. I’ve done that before, but this one was very candid. We had 11 Members of the House of Representatives with one Senator, and nine members of the Russian Duma. And we pressed hard especially on, obviously, Crimea, that they leave, that invasion is absolutely illegal and immoral. That they stop what they’re doing in the Ukraine, the 10,000 people have died, 1.5 million have been internally displaced.
I raised human trafficking. Russia, I should say, is now seriously backsliding. And I wrote the laws for America, and the world, the human trafficking legislation in 2000 to combat human trafficking, and yet they’re getting worse, and women are being cruelly exploited. That’s an area where we can cooperate. So in this meeting with Petr Tolstoy and his nine members of the Duma, we pressed all of these issues and we also pressed meddling. He came back and said, well, he denied any government complicity, which I think is absolutely false, as we saw from today’s indictments. But he also said `if 13 hackers—I don’t know why he chose that number, 12 today—can visit this kind of actions on the largest democracy in the world, what happens if we had 26 hackers out of Russia? Clearly, he had some inside information that he did not want to convey to us. But now we more about that with today’s indictments.
BREAM: We do. I know that you think it’s been helpful to meet face to face with Russian officials. We will see—
REP. SMITH: And be strong. And everyone’s admonishment to the President to be very strong, I think he’ll heed that, he said today that he’ll do it. Look Putin in the eye, raise these important issues. The political killings that are going on—I had a meeting with Boris Nemtsov’s daughter—he was killed in 2015—in Berlin. Held a side event for her, offered an amendment at a parliamentary assembly. It is terrible what has happened in Russia with this deterioration, and of course all the aggression, and now the hacking of U.S. elections. It’s got to stop.
BREAM: Well our President is the number one representative of this country, and hopefully those things are all on the table.