Top Senate Dem: Inviting Putin to Washington ‘beyond comprehension’

Top Senate Dem: Inviting Putin to Washington ‘beyond comprehension’
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Lobbying world This week: Congress starts summer sprint MORE (D-N.J.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Americans in new poll say it would be bad for the country if Trump ran in 2024 ,800 bottle of whiskey given to Pompeo by Japan is missing Liz Cheney says her father is 'deeply troubled' about the state of the Republican Party MORE’s invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin is “beyond comprehension,” adding that Trump “seems to want to be chummy” with the Russian leader instead of challenging him.

“No one knows what he said behind the scenes because he took ... over two hours with only an interpreter, not even the secretary of State or the head of national intelligence,” Menendez said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to a one-on-one meeting between Trump and Putin last week in Helsinki.

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“Is there any upside to talking to Putin?” Fox’s Bret Baier asked the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“It depends if you challenge him,” Menendez responded.

“Now we’re going to give him a red-carpet treatment and invite him to Washington. To me, that’s beyond comprehension,” he added.

Trump faced widespread criticism after a news conference alongside Putin in which he appeared to embrace the Russian leader's denial of election meddling and said the U.S. shared blame for tense relations between Washington and Moscow.

The president and his staff attempted to walk back and clarify his comments last week.

“You can speak to adversaries, but at the end of the day, you have to do it in a way in which you challenge them," Menendez said on Sunday. "The president seems to want to be chummy with Putin instead of challenging him.”