CNN's Chris Cuomo got into a battle of premises Monday with Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah as the pair scuffled over the question of whether President Trump is taking seriously the sanctions he unhappily agreed to impose on Russia last year.
Monday notably is the deadline for Trump to impose the sanctions, which Congress approved with a veto-proof majority in August as a response to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election. Already, many critics are concerned the president might not "follow the law as it was passed by Congress," as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fretted to Politico on Sunday.
Shah took issue with the suggestion that Trump's decision to wait until the last minute to impose the sanctions means he is not taking them seriously. "I just want to challenge the premise you're going about here, which is to state that this president has somehow not been tough on Russia," Shah argued to Cuomo on New Day. "It was just last month that the president authorized the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which is something the previous administration was not willing to do in its fight against Russian separatists."
"Raj," Cuomo replied, "I have to question your premise of questioning the premise. You don't think that a pretty clear case is made, not just by how long it took to effectuate these recent sanctions, but that the president's talk about Russia is so consistently mild compared to what he says about other foreign countries?"
Shah hit back: "I certainly don't agree with your premise at all," he said. Listen to all the premises below. Jeva Lange