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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 TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation 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 SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Health care a top policy message in fall campaigns McConnell says deficits 'not a Republican problem' Medicare for All is disastrous for American seniors and taxpayers MORE (N.Y.), Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Trump officials ratchet up drug pricing fight GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia 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) MenendezTrump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it Blame Senate, not FBI, for Kavanaugh travesty Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE (D-N.J.), Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDems can use subpoena power to reclaim the mantle of populism Is there a difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel MORE (D-Va.), Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSen. Walter Huddleston was a reminder that immigration used to be a bipartisan issue GOP plays hardball in race to confirm Trump's court picks Feinstein would 'absolutely' reopen Kavanaugh investigation if Dems win Senate MORE (D-Calif.), Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Trump asks Turkey for evidence on missing journalist | Key Dem calls for international probe | Five things to know about 'MBS' | Air Force struggles to determine cost of hurricane damage to F-22 jets Trump administration doesn't have ambassadors in Saudi Arabia or Turkey Top Armed Services Dem calls for international probe into missing Saudi journalist MORE (D-R.I.), Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia Saudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP MORE (D-Vt.) and Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence 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 McCainMeghan McCain calls Russian attacks against her father the 'highest compliment' to her family Arizona Dems hope higher Latino turnout will help turn the state blue McConnell: GOP could try to repeal ObamaCare again after 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.