Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments

Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.) on Friday called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin at their upcoming summit over new indictments handed down in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's probe into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Sanders called on Americans to speak with "one voice" toward Putin, urging Democrats and Republicans to come together and stand against foreign efforts to interfere in the U.S. political system after Mueller indicted 12 Russian operatives.


"The fact that these indictments name 12 members of Russia’s military intelligence service strongly suggests that the interference was directed from the highest levels of the Russian government. It’s imperative that Special Counsel Mueller be allowed to continue his investigation free of pressure," Sanders said in a statement.

"We must also speak with one voice in making clear to Vladimir Putin: 'We will not allow you to interfere in our democratic processes or those of our allies.' The president himself should be the one to bring this message to Putin," he added.

Trump is expected to meet with his Russian counterpart at a bilateral summit in Helsinki on Monday, where the two will discuss possible areas of common ground amid months of escalated tension over accusations of election interference and Russia's possible involvement in the poisoning of several victims of a nerve agent on British soil.

Other Democratic senators including Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro: Trump should be impeached for trying to obstruct justice 'in very concrete ways' Poll: Biden tops Sanders nationally Pete Buttigieg: 'God doesn't have a political party' MORE (Mass.), a frequent Sanders ally, have called on Trump to cancel the planned meeting entirely.

"[The Department of Justice's] criminal charges provide hard evidence that Russian intel agents attacked America to boost their favorite candidates, undermine others, and influence our elections. @realDonaldTrump, cancel your ridiculous Putin summit and get your butt on a plane back to the United States," she tweeted Friday.

Trump took a softer tone against Putin before leaving the U.S. for a NATO summit in Brussels this week, expressing the hope that he could become friends with Putin in the future.

“[Putin] is representing Russia. I’m representing the United States,” Trump said. “So in a sense we’re competitors, not a question of friend or enemy.”

"He’s not my enemy. Hopefully some day, maybe he’ll be a friend,” he added.