Eric Swalwell floats kicking Russians out of US universities in retaliation to Putin invading Ukraine

Swalwell: Kicking every Russian student out of US should be on the table

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said the retaliation menu against Ukraine invasion must include all options against Russian President Vladimir Putin to ensure he fails on CNN Thursday.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said on CNN Thursday that kicking Russian students out of U.S. universities should be “on the table” in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin launching an invasion into Ukraine. 

“Frankly, I think closing their embassy in the United States, kicking every Russian student out of the United States … should … be on the table. … Vladimir Putin needs to know every day that he is in Ukraine, there are more severe options that could come,” Swalwell said on “CNN Newsroom.”

The congressman added that other retaliatory actions should be sanctioning Putin personally and “completely” removing Russians from SWIFT, an international banking system that facilitates financial transactions between banks globally.

A satellite image shows damage to fuel storage areas and other airport infrastructure at the Chuhuiv airfield in the eastern Ukrainian city of Chuhuiv, in Kharkiv region, February 24, 2022. 
( Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS )

CNN’s Alisyn Camerota said Biden has not spoken to Swalwell’s suggestions.

“But I mean, President Biden isn’t talking about those things,” she said. “He’s not doing SWIFT right now. [CNN chief White House correspondent] Kaitlan Collins asked him specifically, ‘Will you be sanctioning Putin, specifically?’ And [Biden] sort of dodged that question.”

Swalwell responded, “I think this is the largest invasion in Europe since World War II, and these are the harshest sanctions that any country has experienced since World War II … There will be more to come.”

The Biden administration responded with some sanctions against Russian oligarchs and banks, technology exports, and re-activated sanctions he had lifted on Nord Stream 2 AG, whose Russian parent company is Gazprom. The White House continued to withhold the most crippling sanctions, in part, to retain leverage.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in the White House, February 24, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

“Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences,” Biden said during a Thursday press conference. 

In the days and weeks prior to the invasion, the White House and allies bolstered troops on the eastern flank of NATO but maintained that the United States would not fight Russians on Ukrainian soil. 

Two U.S. Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, arrive at Amari Air Base, Estonia, February 24, 2022. 
(U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS)

“Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine but defend our NATO allies and reassure those allies in the east,” the president reassured during the presser.

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked Biden, “Did you underestimate Putin, and would you still describe him the way you did in the summer as a ‘worthy adversary?’”

Biden responded, “At the time, he was. I made it clear that he was an adversary, and I said he was worthy. I didn’t underestimate him.”

Some in the GOP criticized Biden’s incremental, or reactionary, responses and asked the president to instead unload the mother lode of sanctions. They stressed there was little to nothing those sanctions could do to sway Putin’s decision-making. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Jesse Watters on Wednesday that there was no turning back the tides, adding that if he were president, he would declare Putin an “international war criminal” for invading its sovereign neighbor. 

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