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The Doughnut Hole in Schumer’s Hard Line Against Putin

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is taking a hard line on Donald Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin, but welcomed Putin to New York in 2003.

Vladimir Putin and Chuck Schumer

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has talked quite tough on Russia as of late. In December, he said Trump’s team is “far too close to Russia,” and added “[b]oth parties ought to be united in standing up to Russian interference.”

Schumer hasn’t always been so tough on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In 2003, Schumer welcomed Putin to New York City as Russian oil company Lukoil opened a gas station in Manhattan.

The AP photo shows Putin and Schumer smiling, with coffee and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The caption reads:

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, enjoys a Krispy Kreme doughnut and coffee with Senator Charles Schumer from New York as Putin visits the first New York gas station of the Russian company Lukoil, Friday.

Schumer also said that day:

“When I showed the president of Russia a Krispy Kreme doughnut and he ate it and said it was good, that was one of the more surreal moments I’ve had in politics.”

The photo above also shows Putin and Schumer appearing friendly that day.

Schumer even held out hope for friendly relations with Russia in 2008. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Schumer argued Russia was the key to better relations with Iran.

Now, with a Republican president-elect and Russian hacks on the Democratic Party a topic du jour, Schumer is striking a different tone.