House Democrats offer to set agenda for Trump-Putin meeting

House Democrats offer to set agenda for Trump-Putin meeting

More than a dozen House Democrats on Thursday offered pointed ideas of topics for President Trump to address during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The 13 lawmakers responded to a top White House official saying the president is going into his first meeting with the Russian leader with "no specific agenda."

"In light of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster’s statements that you have 'no specific agenda,' we write to offer you some important topics for discussion in advance of your first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg," the Democrats wrote in a letter to Trump.

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"Given the numerous destabilizing actions Russia has taken here in the U.S. and across the globe, we believe this meeting warrants a specific agenda to ensure that Russia will not be emboldened to continue on its current course," the letter said.

 

The letter detailed three proposed topics of discussion: Russia's attempts to interfere in last year's presidential election, its military involvement in Ukraine and its continued support for Syrian leader Bashar Assad. 

In their pointing out the conclusion by much of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, the lawmakers urged Trump to take a stand and warn Putin about future meddling in U.S. elections.

Trump on Thursday again refused to definitively blame the Russians for attempting to interfere in the election, saying instead it "could very well have been Russia" but "nobody really knows."

"Russia’s goals to undermine public faith in our democratic process have been clear. In order to ensure Russia does not employ the same tactics in future efforts here in the U.S. or worldwide, including against U.S. allies and their election processes, we urge you to confront President Putin directly about Russia’s attack on our democracy," the lawmakers continued.

The Democratic lawmakers also pointed to Russia's involvement in other foreign matters, such as its "illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014" and Putin's "continued support for the Assad regime in Syria to ensure he understands the U.S.’s commitment to human rights and the rule of international law."

Trump and Putin are set to meet Friday outside the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where world leaders are gathering for the annual event.

The highly anticipated meeting comes amid ongoing U.S. congressional and federal probes into whether Trump campaign aides colluded with the Kremlin during the presidential race. 

The letter's signees were Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeBest shot at narrowing racial homeownership gap at risk, progressives say Youth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Texas), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), Jamie Raskin (D–Md.), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).