Cornyn: Trump should put second Putin meeting on 'back burner'
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Blumenthal: Kavanaugh nomination should be withdrawn Cornyn takes on O'Rourke over AR-15s MORE (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Monday that he thinks President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE should hold off on a second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

"I'm one who thinks that it's a good thing for leaders of countries to talk, but I would consider putting that one on the back burner for a while," Cornyn told reporters when asked about the White House's plans to invite Putin to the United States. 
 
Pressed if he was saying they should wait until after the November election, Cornyn, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reiterated that he thought the potential meeting should be sidelined "for a while." 
 
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GOP senators have shown little enthusiasm for a second meeting between Trump and Putin after the president sparked fierce, widespread backlash for refusing to condemn Moscow's interference in the 2016 presidential election last week.
 
 
“I don’t particularly want to see a grand ceremony for Putin, but I don’t have any problem with the two leaders sitting down and hopefully having a better discourse than they’ve had until now," Hatch said, adding he hopes Trump "rethinks" his Helsinki comments. 
 
Trump stood next to Putin after their one-on-one meeting in Finland last week and appeared to echo the Russian leader's denials that the country meddled in the 2016 election, despite the U.S. intelligence community's assessment. 
 
"I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," he told reporters during the press conference. "I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be" Russia.
 
Trump tried to walk back his comments from the White House, saying he meant to say didn't see a reason it "wouldn't" be Russia. He added that he accepted the intelligence community's findings that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election. 
 
But he appeared to reverse course over the weekend, calling Russia's election meddling a "big hoax." 
 
Trump's rhetoric roiled congressional Republicans, who were forced to spend most of last week playing defense and touting their tough-on-Russia stances. 
 
Senators are weighing passing new sanctions legislation amid intense pressure to distance themselves from the White House.