National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster: Russia Can Still Be "Part Of The Solution" In Syria


President Trump's new National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster made an appearance on this week's edition of 'Fox News Sunday' where he suggested that Russia should reconsider its support for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

"Russians should ask themselves: 'What are we doing here? Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?'"

"Russia could be part of the solution," he said, noting that currently they were "part of the problem."

"Do they want it to be a relationship of competition and potential conflict? I don't see how that's in Russian interests. Or do they want it to be a relationship in which we can find areas of cooperation that are in mutual interests?" McMaster asked. "How is it in anyone's interest that this conflict in Syria and this catastrophe in the greater Middle East continues, and they can be part of the solution."

WALLACE: So, there is a possibility that President Trump, you are saying -- leaving it wide open that he will act against President Assad if he goes against civilians no matter what weapon he uses?

MCMASTER: Well, the president will make whatever decision he thinks is in the best interest of the American people, and it will be our job to provide him with options based on how we see this conflict evolve in this period of time before us, after the strike. And what we're doing now is working with our partners, our allies, everyone, except Russia and Iran, who are somehow continue to think that it's OK to be aligned with his murderous regime.

We are working with our parties and allies to magnify the effects of this strike to -- and then to build momentum toward ultimately resolving the civil war, defeating ISIS and bringing the peace and security back to this region and to the Syrian people.

WALLACE: Let me bring in -- you mentioned Russia. Russia has sent, as Kristin Fisher reported, has sent a warship into the Mediterranean. And over the weekend, the prime minister of Russia, Medvedev, wrote, the U.S. is, quote, "on the verge of a military clash with Russia."

Sir, what are we prepared to do if Russia defends its interests in Syria?

MCMASTER: Well, this is part of the problem with Syria is Russia's sponsorship for this murderous regime.

And if we would want to appeal rationally to Russia, this is a great opportunity for the Russian leadership to reevaluate what they're doing. Why they are supporting a regime that is committing mass murder against its own people. And so, Russia could be part of the solution. Right now, I think everyone in the world sees Russia as part of the problem.

WALLACE: Was Russia involved? Do we have evidence that they were involved in the chemical attack?

MCMASTER: Well, I think what we should do is ask Russia -- how could it be, if you have advisors at that airfield, that you didn't know that the Syrian air force was preparing and executing a mass murder attack with chemical weapons? I think we ought to ask them a question.

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