The Congressional Progressive Caucus is blaming a staffer for releasing a controversial letter urging President Joe Biden to negotiate with Russia to end the war in Ukraine.
What did the letter say?
The letter, signed by 30 liberal Democrats and sent by caucus chairwoman Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), urged Biden to make "vigorous diplomatic efforts" to end the Ukraine war.
The Democrats urged Biden to "engage in direct talks with Russia, explore prospects for a new European security arrangement acceptable to all parties that will allow for a sovereign and independent Ukraine, and, in coordination with our Ukrainian partners, seek a rapid end to the conflict and reiterate this goal as America’s chief priority."
"Timing in diplomacy is everything," Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) said, for example. "I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I wouldn't sign it today."
But what is the caucus saying now?
On Tuesday, Jayapal withdrew the letter, noting its release committed the biggest transgression possible in Washington, D.C. — the appearance that they agree with Republicans, who want to stop sending billions of taxpayer dollars to Ukraine.
"The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine," Jayapal said.
Even worse, Jayapal blamed a staffer for releasing the letter without authorization.
"The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting," she claimed. "As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this.
"Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory," she went on to write. "The letter sent yesterday, although restating that basic principle, has been conflated with GOP opposition to support for the Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter."
Jayapal's excuse — that a staffer released the letter without approval — was summarily condemned.
"One of the more blatant attempts to throw your own staff under the bus I’ve seen since getting to Washington," said Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein.