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 TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press 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 impeachment damaged US foreign policy Trump administration mulling special negotiator for nuke talks with Russia: report Former Goldman Sachs CEO rips Sanders after NH win: 'He'll ruin our economy' MORE to take part in next year's meeting. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBarr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation Roger Stone witness alleges Trump targeted prosecutors in 'vile smear job' MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-N.J.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedLawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban Pavlich: The Senate defends its integrity Five Senate Democrats make impeachment case in Spanish MORE (D-R.I.) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US prosecutors bring new charges against China's Huawei Lawmakers grill Census Bureau officials after report on cybersecurity issues 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 JohnsonSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Father of Parkland shooting victim calls on Congress to take action Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial MORE (R-Wis.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial MORE (D-Conn.) said Russia had refused to give them a visa to visit the country as part of a congressional delegation.