Freedom Caucus chair floats potential Ukraine peace talks probe

Scott Perry

Scott Perry. Photo: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who chairs the right-wing Freedom Caucus, put forward to colleagues the idea of ​​laying the groundwork for an investigation into the Biden administration’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine peace talks, Axios has learned .

Why it matters: Republican criticism of President Biden’s approach to the conflict has splintered as the conflict dragged on. While establishment GOP senators have urged Biden to accelerate and diversify arms sales to Ukraine, MAGA-leaning Republicans have urged Kyiv to start negotiations to avert the risk of a nuclear escalation.

  • Perry’s comments echo the concerns of isolationists – on both the right and the left – who say the Western desire for an outright victory for Ukraine will propel a cornered Russian President Vladimir Putin to drastic measures, including a nuclear strike, could provoke.
  • The Ukrainians – and Biden – counter that Russia can end the war at any time by withdrawing its forces, and that only the Ukrainian people have the right to determine their country’s fate.
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Driving the news: In a text late last month to other Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Axios obtained screenshots, Perry asked if they had sent a record-keeping request to the administration — the first step toward an investigation.

  • “We asked for talks with the administration [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelenskyy this spring, which included proposing an end to the Russian occupation in exchange for Ukraine not joining NATO?” he wrote.
  • Perry said he was “completely opposed to Russian action in relation to Ukraine” but “not in favor of war with Russia”.
  • “If these idiots in this Jackwagon administration make us a mistake or intentionally lead us into a war with Russia, nuclear or otherwise, we’d better start gathering the evidence so it can be held accountable.”
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Context: Early negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, which included proposals for Kyiv to formally abandon its NATO aspirations, collapsed as Vladimir Putin escalated his brutal attacks on civilians.

Texts by Scott Perry
Axios Visuals

The big picture: Republicans are planning a variety of investigations into the administration, including Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and elsewhere and last year’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

  • Perry’s writings mark a rare example of a planned investigation into the government’s response to the war in Ukraine, which has received broad support from Congress in the form of aid packages.
  • Perry and White House spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment.
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