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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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum 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 SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill MORE (N.Y.), Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick Durbin'Killibuster': Democratic angst grows as filibuster threatens agenda Biden administration to back bill ending crack, powder cocaine sentence disparity: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill 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 (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'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) MenendezSchumer says Senate will vote on repealing 2002 war authorization The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Sanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale MORE (D-N.J.), Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure Biden risks break with progressives on infrastructure MORE (D-Va.), Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinHeat wave sparks historically unseasonable wildfires in West Energized Trump probes pose problems for Biden Granholm defends US emissions targets: 'If we don't take action, where are we?' MORE (D-Calif.), Armed Services Committee ranking member Jack ReedJack ReedHouse lawmakers introduce bill to overhaul military justice system Pentagon chief backs change to military sexual assault prosecution Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed MORE (D-R.I.), Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBipartisan group of 21 lawmakers push Biden to ban most landmines Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (D-Vt.) and Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBiden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction Cutting critical family support won't solve the labor crisis Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit 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 McCainBiden nominates Cindy McCain as ambassador to UN food agency Meghan McCain defends 'maverick' Sinema from attacks over filibuster stance GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster 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.