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Democratic leader Jeffries: "Pro-Putin faction" in GOP delayed Ukraine aid

Jeffries: There's a Pro-Putin faction in GOP
Democrat leader Jeffries: "Pro-Putin faction" in GOP delayed Ukraine aid 06:16

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries said the United States must continue supporting Ukraine to prevent a broader war, and he blamed the delay in aiding the fight against Russia on a "pro-Putin faction" within the Republican Party. 

"We can't let Ukraine fall because if it does, then there's a significant likelihood that America will have to get into the conflict — not simply with our money, but with our servicewomen and our servicemen," Jeffries said in an interview with Norah O'Donnell for 60 Minutes. 

Jeffries explained that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to recreate the Soviet Union, and in doing so, will threaten NATO allies. Putin's invasion of neighboring Georgia did not stop there, Jeffries pointed out, nor did his takeover of Crimea in eastern Ukraine. 

"Are we to believe that in the face of this kind of consistent aggression that if we allow Vladimir Putin to succeed in Ukraine that he's only going to stop in Ukraine? Of course not," Jeffries said.

Last month, Congress approved a long-awaited bill to provide $61 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The first major aid package since December 2022, it came after months of fighting and deadlock in Congress, driven by Republicans, who are divided over foreign aid to Ukraine. 

"There is a growing pro-Putin faction in the Republican party that does not want to support Ukraine and believes for some reason that Russia is not an enemy of the United States of America," Jeffries said. 

He is not alone in this assessment. He pointed to remarks last month from Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Mike Turner, the Republican chair of the Intelligence Committee, both of whom said in interviews that Russian propaganda has infiltrated their party. 

In the House, Jeffries claimed Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is leading the support for Russia.

"Check the record," he said. "That's the reality of who she is, what she's said, and her belief system."

In the Senate, 15 Republicans voted against the bill that included more aid for Ukraine, including Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio, who last month wrote an op-ed arguing that Ukraine lacks the manpower and military might to prevail — and that American support is insufficient to change it.

In his interview with 60 Minutes, Jeffries responded to Vance's commentary, pointing to the Ukrainian military's ability to hold off Russian forces for more than two years. 

"This has been a strategic success by any definition," Jeffries said. "And so those that want to convince the American people that the Ukrainian effort has been a failure are promoting Vladimir Putin's propaganda because the facts say the exact opposite, which is why it's important for us to finish the job. It's a Churchill or Chamberlain moment."

The video above was produced by Brit McCandless Farmer and edited by Scott Rosann.

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