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Senior Biden Admin Official Admits Nord Stream 2 Completion “Disastrous” In Questioning by Sen. Cruz

‘You told this committee that you believed if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany were completed it would have disastrous effects. Do you continue to believe that?’ ‘I do, Senator’

July 21, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today questioned the U.S. State Department's Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on the Biden administration's capitulation to Putin on the Russian pipeline Nord Stream 2, which if completed would vastly strengthen Russia at the expense of the national security of America and our allies. Excerpts of his line of questioning are below.

WATCH: Sen. Cruz: Biden Administration Admits Nord Stream 2 "Disastrous"

In his line of questioning, Sen. Cruz asked:

"At your confirmation hearing, you told this committee that you believed if the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany were completed, that it would have disastrous effects on U.S. national security, that it would have disastrous effects on European security by making them subject to economic and energy blackmail from Russia, and that it would enrich and empower Putin to carry out that blackmail. Do you continue to believe that?"

Ms. Nuland responded:

"I do, Senator."

Sen. Cruz continued:

"My understanding is the State Department recommended that sanctions be imposed on the company that is building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and on the CEO. And that the State Department did so consistent with the sanctions that Congress passed into law, that I authored. Not one set of sanctions, but two sets of sanctions, that passed both Houses of Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support - nearly unanimous support. My understanding is the State Department recommended that those sanctions be imposed to try to stop the pipeline, and that the Biden White House overrode that recommendation. Is that accurate?"

Ms. Nuland responded:

"Senator, I think you won't be surprised that I'm not going to discuss internal administration deliberations. I don't think you were here when I read out some of the actions that we have worked on with the German Government. I can repeat that here. But obviously, our intention here - and we did sanction the company and sanction its leadership. We chose to waive those sanctions to buy some time to see if we could work with Germany so that it could take responsibility for the pressure that this pipeline puts, not only on Ukraine, and on Poland, and on Eastern Europe, but on the advantages that it gives to Russia, both in security and environ - economic terms.We will later this afternoon, release the results of those negotiations, a U.S.-German joint statement, which includes a number of elements, and since I've already read it out to your colleagues, I won't waste the committee's time, I can share it with you after this. But one point in particular, which I think is very important for Ukraine and for our collective response, is that Germany has committed to take action that should Russian attempt to use energy as a weapon, or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European Union level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector, including gas and other economically-relevant sectors. So we can talk about how we are doing here, but our effort right now is to continue to protect Ukraine and others."

Sen. Cruz asked:

"As promises go, that promise from Angela Merkel is on its face, incredibly weak. And the deal that is going to be announced today, conveniently at 9pm German time, so presumably to mitigate the pushback from the Greens in Germany, is in my view a complete and total capitulation by President Biden to Putin. He has given Putin everything he wants. He has surrendered on the pipeline - the pipeline that we had stopped. That we had successfully stopped, until Biden surrendered. I believe this is a generational, geopolitical mistake, that decades from now, future Russian dictators will be reaping billions of dollars of benefits annually from Joe Biden's mistake and will be using that pipeline to exert economic blackmail on Europe decades from now. Let me ask a straightforward question. Do our Ukrainian allies agree that this is a good deal?"

Ms. Nuland responded:

"Senator, with respect and in the spirit of candor with which we have always dealt with each other - I believe that we were, in 2016, on our way to stopping the pipeline. As you and I discussed, when the Biden administration came into office four years later, that pipeline was 90 percent plus complete."

Sen. Cruz continued:

"Ms. Nuland, I understand that talking point that the Biden State Department has been using. It was 95 percent complete in December of 2019 when we passed the sanctions and we stopped it. A 95 percent complete pipeline is zero percent complete. And we saw for a year, it remained a hunk of metal at the bottom of the ocean until Joe Biden got elected and began signaling he would be soft on Russia. Let me ask my question again because my time is expiring. Do our Ukrainian allies agree that this is a good deal? And is it correct, as it has been widely reported, that the Biden White House has been pressuring Ukraine, demanding that they not criticize the deal, and threatening economic support, military support, and threatening President Zelensky directly to cancel the White House meeting with the President, unless they bite their tongues and not say what is obvious, which is that this is a disastrous deal that benefits Putin and hurts Ukraine badly?"

Ms. Nuland responded:

"That is categorically incorrect, Senator. None of us has been pressuring Ukraine. In fact, an invitation to President Zelensky is going to be issued publically later today and we have been in deep consultations with the Ukrainians on every aspect of this arrangement. I will leave it to the Ukrainians to speak for themselves on how they react to this. Do they, like all of us, wish this pipeline could be stopped and want it stopped? Of course. Does this deal give them more than they had yesterday? I believe that it does. And I have been in intense consultation with them myself, as has Derek Chollet who is on the ground, the President, Secretary Blinken. But they will speak for themselves about this arrangement. I won't speak for them, they are a sovereign state."

Sen. Cruz asked:

"May I ask one final question to clarify? Is it your testimony, Ambassador, under oath in this committee that nobody in the Biden administration has been pressuring the Ukrainians not to criticize this deal? I find that astonishing testimony. Is that what you're telling this committee?"

Ms. Nuland responded:

"I know of nobody in the administration who has told them how to feel or how to speak about this. What we have tried to do is have consultation with them throughout on what their major concerns are. They have security concerns but they also have energy concerns. And we have done - we have worked hard to try to address the concerns that they have raised with us, including in consultations we had before this consultation with the Germans even began."

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