In a Sunday morning interview, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) went on ABC's "This Week" with host George Stephanopoulos where he slammed the Biden administration's sanctions on Russia that he says are "riddled with loopholes."
Cotton said that Russian President Vladimir Putin controls 100 percent of the banks in Russia and that he can use the other 20 perecent to "finance his war machine." The Republican senator then declared during the on-air ABC segment that "it's time to remove all Russian institutions from the international payment system" and "it's time to impose sanctions on oil and gas exports."
Over the weekend, the US and its allies announced Saturday a joint agreement to limit Russia's access to the international SWIFT banking system, which facilitates global transactions among thousands of financial institutions.
"We commit to ensuring that selected Russian banks are removed from the SWIFT messaging system. This will ensure that these banks are disconnected from the international financial system and harm their ability to operate globally," the leaders of the European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, said in the joint statement.
"We need to rush those weapons that were announced for delivery yesterday to the front. Anti-tank, anti-aircraft missiles, sniper rifles, ammunition. It should have been done weeks ago," Cotton stated. "It's time for the president to quit pussy-footing around. The financial sanctions are riddled with loopholes."
Cotton said he's been urging the Biden administration to take Putin's threat seriously, "to impose sanctions weeks and months ago, [and] to send weapons to Ukraine weeks ago." Cotton stated that "Ms. Psaki said we made the mistake of seeing Vladimir Putin of seeing the world through global norms."
"I never made that mistake," Cotton stated. "I've seen [Putin] as a ruthless dictator. He took the ambitions he's always had and went for the jugular. Thankfully brave Ukrainian people are fighting back and every day they hold out they continue to stiffen the spines of leaders in the west. We need to urge them on and continue providing them the weapons they need to fight back."
In the back-and-forth exchange, Stephanopoulos asked Cotton multiple times to condemn former President Donald Trump's "rhetoric" supposedly praising Putin.
"You've never made that mistake; it's true," Stephanopoulos said. "That can't be said of Donald Trump. He called him smart. Earlier in the week he called him savvy. He said NATO and the U.S. are dumb. Are you prepared to condemn that rhetoric from the leader of your party?" Stephanopoulos pressed Cotton.
Cotton ignored the question, calling Putin "a ruthless dictator who launched a war of aggression." To which, Stephanopoulos tried to ask the question again: "Why can’t you condemn Donald Trump for those comments?"
Refusing to take the bait, Cotton told Stephanopoulos to ask Trump those questions directly. "George, if you want to know what Donald Trump thinks about Vladimir Putin or any other topic, I'd encourage you to invite him on your show. I don't speak on behalf of other politicians; they can speak for themselves," he insisted. "I speak on behalf of Arkansans, who I talked to this week."
Cotton had previously appeared last week on Fox News where he slammed President Joe Biden's plan to train Ukranian troops remotely amid the conflict.