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Sasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit

Sasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseToobin: Flake and Sasse ‘never actually take a stand’ against Trump GOP lawmaker on Trump's 'Horseface' comment: 'That's not the way men act' Republican senator and Sean Hannity clash over claims in new book MORE (R-Neb.) on Sunday night said he does not think President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE should dignify Russian President Vladimir Putin with a meeting, given Putin's past relationship with the U.S.

Sasse, who is an outspoken critic of Russia and occasionally Trump, took to Twitter with his take on who Putin is and what he wants. 

"I don't think President Trump should be dignifying Putin with this meeting," Sasse tweeted.

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Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday. The summit will come days after special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials for conspiring to influence the 2016 presidential election.  

"President Trump should have only one message for Putin tomorrow: Quit messing with America," he added. 

Sasse hit Putin for his history as a member of the KGB, the security agency for the Soviet Union, and his authoritarian rule in Russia.

"Putin is a murderer," Sasse tweeted. "He has ordered the assassinations of political adversaries and used outlawed chemical weapons to do it."

Sasse also called Putin a "crook and a liar" for breaking agreements with the U.S. on Syria and Ukraine, and an "enemy of America" for attacking the U.S. "regularly."

"Remember, Putin ordered the influence operations that have been exposed in the most recent indictments, did not hesitate to invade Ukraine and Georgia, organized a coup in Montenegro, funded xenophobic political parties across Europe, and crippled Estonia with cyberattacks," Sasse tweeted.

Sasse also said "Putin is not America's friend, and he is not the President's buddy." 

Trump has said he has "low expectations" for his meeting with Putin, and has been ambiguous as to whether he will confront Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed a quotation to Sasse. It has been corrected.