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Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7

Senate Democrats warn Trump: Don't invite Putin to G-7
© Greg Nash

A group of top Senate Democrats are warning President TrumpDonald John TrumpFox News president, top anchors advised to quarantine after coronavirus exposure: report Six notable moments from Trump and Biden's '60 Minutes' interviews Biden on attacks on mental fitness: Trump thought '9/11 attack was 7/11 attack' MORE against inviting Russia to rejoin the Group of Seven (G-7), after the president opened the door to allowing Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHow to avoid a space arms race Trust and transparency are necessary to make COVID-19 vaccine successful Biden: Countries that interfere in US elections will 'pay a price' MORE to take part in next year's meeting. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerGraham dismisses criticism from Fox Business's Lou Dobbs Lewandowski: Trump 'wants to see every Republican reelected regardless of ... if they break with the president' Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' MORE (D-N.J.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Overnight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Overnight Defense: Famed Navy SEAL calls Trump out | Yemen's Houthi rebels free two Americans | Marines fire commander after deadly training accident MORE (D-R.I.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference Intel officials say Iran, Russia seeking to influence election Senate Intel leaders warn of election systems threats MORE (D-Va.), the top Democrats on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees respectively, sent a letter to Trump citing "strong opposition" to allowing Putin to join the G-7.

"Under no circumstances should President Putin be invited to participate in the G7 until the Russian government undertakes demonstrable actions to show its willingness to behave responsibly both domestically and abroad," they wrote. 

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"Readmitting Putin’s Russia to the G7 would be contrary to our values and a clear abdication of the United States’ responsibilities as the world’s leading democracy," the senators added.

The letter comes after Trump said on Monday that he would "certainly" invite Putin to join next year's G-7 meeting. The United States will serve as host of next year's annual gathering of world leaders, giving Trump the ability to invite heads of state who are not part of the G-7.

Russia was expelled from the then-G-8 in 2014 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, an incident cited by the senators in their letter to Trump. 

"If President Putin’s regime is willing to directly and flagrantly violate these international agreements and disregard the sovereignty of its neighbors, the Russian government should not be trusted with a leadership position on the world stage," the Democratic senators wrote.

Trump has previously floated allowing Russia back into the group's meetings, saying ahead of last year's G-7 summit that "they should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table."

He added on Monday that he thought it would be better for Russia to be included because it would be "better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent."

The pushback over potentially inviting Putin to attend next year's meeting comes as Russia is tangling with senators. Sens. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenators battle over Supreme Court nominee in rare Saturday session Sunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Wis.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Murphy says US would be 'better off' if Trump admin 'did nothing' on coronavirus Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  MORE (D-Conn.) said Russia had refused to give them a visa to visit the country as part of a congressional delegation.