Top Dem: Hard to see Trump-Putin summit 'as anything other than treason'

 Top Dem: Hard to see Trump-Putin summit 'as anything other than treason'
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“At every turn of his trip to Europe, President Trump has followed a script that parallels Moscow’s plan to weaken and divide America’s allies and partners and undermine democratic values. There is an extensive factual record suggesting that President Trump’s campaign and the Russians conspired to influence our election for President Trump," Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said in an official statement.

"Now Trump is trying to cover it up. There is no sugar coating this. It is hard to see President Trump siding with Vladimir Putin over our own intelligence community and our criminal investigators as anything other than treason."

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Smith expanded on his "treason" comment, saying Trump legally did not commit treason but has committed other impeachable offenses. 
“Treason might have been a little bit of hyperbole,” Smith told The Seattle Times. “There is no question in my mind that the United States has the need to begin an impeachment investigation."

Smith's statement came shortly after Trump and Putin spoke at a joint press conference in Helsinki on Monday. 

The presser became the subject of controversy after Trump refused to confront Putin about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The summit came just days after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking Democratic servers during the 2016 campaign.

Many had called on Trump to bring up the indictments during his one-on-one meeting with Putin.

Instead, Trump said during the news conference that he doesn't see any reason why Russia would interfere in the U.S.'s presidential election, pointing to Putin's denials. 

"He just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said. “I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

Trump also said both countries were to blame for poor relations between the U.S. and Russia.

The rhetoric used by Trump immediately prompted backlash from both sides of the aisle, including one local GOP leader resigning in protest.