Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one

Senate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one
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A group of top Senate Democrats is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE to not meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin one-on-one as the pair prepare to head to Helsinki for a summit on Monday.

Eight Senate Democrats including Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Democrats should stop playing politics on Kavanaugh Montana GOP Senate hopeful touts Trump's support in new ad Strong job growth drives home choice for voters this election MORE (N.Y.), Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDems seize on Kavanaugh emails to question role in terrorism response Trump gives thumbs up to prison sentencing reform bill at pivotal meeting Overnight Defense: Officials make show of force on election security | Dems want probe into Air Force One tours | Pentagon believes Korean War remains 'consistent' with Americans MORE (Ill.) and the top Democrats on the Senate Intelligence, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Armed Services, Appropriations and Banking committees sent a letter to Trump on Saturday making the demand.

"If you insist on meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday, we write to urge that you include senior members of your team and not meet one-on-one with Mr. Putin, as reportedly planned," the group of senators wrote.

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"Mr. Putin is a trained KGB intelligence veteran who will come to this meeting well-prepared. As the Kremlin said last week, a one-one-one meeting with you 'absolutely suits' him. There must be other Americans in the room," they wrote, urging Trump to "rely on the expertise and the experts of the State Department, Defense Department, CIA and other U.S. government agencies" and "not wing it on your own."

The group also called on Trump to address Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election on the heels of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's indictment Friday of 12 Russian intelligence officers who are accused of being behind the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee.

"If you are not prepared to make Russia’s attack on our election the top issue you will discuss, then you should cancel the Helsinki summit," the senators wrote to Trump, adding that he "should demand" that Putin hand over the indicted Russians and 13 other Russian nationals previously indicted in February for running a "troll factory" during the election.

"These individuals must be brought to the United States so that they can stand trial, and you should demand that Mr. Putin hand them over," they wrote.

The letter was signed by Schumer, Durbin, Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE (D-N.J.), Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerEurope a cautionary tale for privacy, not a guiding light Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination WikiLeaks says Senate panel requested Assange testimony for Russia probe MORE (D-Va.), Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressives fume as Dems meet with Brett Kavanaugh GOP lawmaker calls on FBI to provide more info on former Feinstein staffer It’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy MORE (D-Calif.), Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTop Senate Democrat: Space Force is 'not the way to go' Sunday shows preview: Virginia lawmakers talk Charlottesville, anniversary protests Look to our public servants to see America’s promise MORE (D-R.I.), Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGOP senator: Trump is ‘the only one in the government’ not paying attention to Russian threat to midterms Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack Senate clears 4B ‘minibus’ spending measure MORE (D-Vt.) and Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau MORE (D-Ohio).

Trump is slated to travel to Helsinki to meet with Putin on Monday after traveling this week to Brussels for the annual NATO summit and the United Kingdom for a visit.

Trump and Putin are slated to hold a joint press conference on Monday after their meeting, the Finnish government said.

The White House said last month when announcing Trump's summit with Putin that the U.S. president would meet his Russian counterpart in an effort to improve relations between the two countries. Trump has also dismissed concerns that he will be unprepared for the meeting.

"They’re going ‘Will President Trump be prepared, you know, President Putin is KGB and this and that,’ " Trump said during a campaign rally in Montana earlier this month. "You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life."

Still, a number of lawmakers, including GOP Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDem strategist: Trump thinks of McCain as 'he who should not be named' Omarosa book: Trump called Montenegro prime minister a ‘whiny punk b----’ The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms MORE (Ariz.), have pressed Trump to address Russia's election meddling during the bilateral summit.

"President Trump must be willing to confront Putin from a position of strength and demonstrate that there will be a serious price to pay for his ongoing aggression towards the United States and democracies around the world. If President Trump is not prepared to hold Putin accountable, the summit in Helsinki should not move forward," McCain said in a statement Friday.