Senate Dems request materials related to Trump-Putin Helsinki meeting

Senate Dems request materials related to Trump-Putin Helsinki meeting
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Two top Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Pompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Positive Moon-Kim summit creates a diplomatic opening in North Korea MORE requesting information about President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE’s July summit in Helsinki, Finland, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The two senators asked Pompeo to provide “all classified and unclassified cable traffic, memoranda of conversations, interpreter’s notes and policy directives related to the meeting, and if no such documents exist, to confirm so.”

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“Our questions over what commitments President Trump made on behalf of the United States during the private, two-hour meeting remain unanswered. … We make this request only as a direct result of the extraordinary and, to our knowledge, unprecedented circumstances of President Trump’s two hour, one-on-one meeting with a leader identified as a threat to the United States by President Trump’s own National Security Strategy,” Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Dem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap MORE (D-N.J.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Dems seek ways to block Trump support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (D-N.H.) wrote. 

Menendez is the ranking member on the committee, on which Shaheen also sits.

The summit was the subject of bipartisan criticism surrounding an hours-long sit down the two leaders had with no aides except translators. The White House has not released any details on what was discussed, while the Kremlin has released statements claiming Trump made commitments on issues such as Ukraine and Syria.

Trump also faced pushback from both sides of the aisle following an ensuing bilateral press conference with Putin in which he appeared to take the Russian president’s word over that of the U.S. intelligence committee that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The president walked back those comments a day later, but the senators still pointed to the press conference as a concern.

“The public press conference in which the President called the United States ‘foolish’ and praised Putin’s election meddling denial as ‘strong and powerful’ continues to be the only firsthand, U.S. account the American people have of what was addressed,” Menendez and Shaheen wrote.

The senators said their concern surrounding the summit is “heightened” by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and fears the Kremlin may attempt to meddle in the upcoming midterm elections.

“Our concern about this meeting is heightened by the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into potential ties between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russian intelligence operatives and others who sought to interfere in our democratic process. There is an urgent need to address this matter given the continued interference by Russia in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections,” they wrote.

It was reported in late July that Russian hackers targeted Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a vulnerable incumbent in a tight reelection race in a state Trump won easily in 2016.

“I can confirm that we’ve received the letter and will respond accordingly,” a State Department spokesperson said in a comment to The Hill.

Trump and White House national security adviser John Bolton have both said they raised the issue of election meddling in meetings with Russian officials.

Updated at 5:36 p.m.