A group of GOP senators tore into President Biden’s national security adviser after he called Nord Stream 2 AG, the company at the center of Russia’s in-construction natural gas pipeline, a “Swiss company.”
Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, blasted National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan for his Sunday morning news interview where he was pressed on the Biden administration waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would give Russia greater influence in Europe.
Sullivan said in his interview that the Biden administration had sanctioned “several Russian entities when it comes to Nord Stream 2” before claiming that the two entities the administration had waived sanctions from were “not Russian.”
“It was a German individual and a Swiss company,” Sullivan claimed.
The “German individual” Sullivan said the Biden administration waived sanctions on was Matthias Warnig, a known crony of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a former East German intelligence officer.
As for the “Swiss company” Sullivan referred to — that’s actually the Nord Stream 2 AG company itself. Nord Stream 2 AG is indeed based in Switzerland, but the company is owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company based in Moscow.
Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming and who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News Tuesday that the “whole world knows that Nord Stream 2 AG is owned and controlled by Russia’s Gazprom.”
”No amount of spin from the Biden administration will change the reality that Putin’s pipeline is a geopolitical weapon pointed at our allies in Europe,” Barrasso said. “President Biden and his team are desperate to distract from the fact that by not sanctioning them, they have allowed Putin’s pipeline to be locked and loaded.”
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. blasted the Biden administration as working to cover up the “obvious truth” about Nord Stream 2 AG’s real parent company.
“The Nord Stream 2 website notes that the company is owned by Gazprom, which is majority Russian state-owned,” Johnson said on Tuesday. “With support from their mouthpieces in the media, this obvious truth will be covered up by the Biden administration unwilling to admit its weakness dealing with Putin.”
“This fecklessness only encourages Putin’s aggression since Biden imposes no significant consequences for his malign activities,” he added.
Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called suggesting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as not being a Russian project “absurd” and warned the action could have drastic consequences among America’s European allies.
“Any suggestion that Nord Stream 2 is not a Russian pipeline is absurd,” Rubio told Fox News on Tuesday. “Waiving sanctions is a massive handout to the Putin regime and endangers our European allies.”
“Someone with decades of foreign policy experience should know better,” he added.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted his reaction to Sullivan’s claims on Sunday, calling the presidential adviser’s claims “ludicrous.”
“Even Team Biden used to admit—in testimony & in writing— that Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline was a Russian geopolitical project,” Cruz wrote. “But then Biden waived sanctions, so now they want to pretend it’s ‘European.’”
“Why is Team Biden acting as Putin’s lawyer?” he added.
Prior to the president’s move to lift the sanctions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his confirmation hearing that he is “determined to do whatever we can to prevent that completion” of the Russian pipeline.
Biden also came under fire for waiving the sanctions on Russia’s pipeline while stopping the construction of the U.S.’s own Keystone Pipeline.
When asked for comment, a spokesperson for Sullivan pointed to different instances of the Biden administration calling the Nord Stream 2 pipeline a Russian project and said they are “concerned about its implications for energy security in Europe.”
Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne contributed to this report.