Schiff expects Trump to take 'disastrous approach' on meddling in meeting with Putin

Schiff expects Trump to take 'disastrous approach' on meddling in meeting with Putin
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress MORE (D-Calif.) said Sunday that he expects President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Trump confirms 2018 US cyberattack on Russian troll farm Trump tweets his support for Goya Foods amid boycott MORE to take a "disastrous approach" on election meddling during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, pointing to Trump’s repeated refusal to condemn Putin for interfering.

Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” less than a day before the Trump-Putin summit, and two days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russians for allegedly hacking into U.S. systems during the 2016 campaign.

Schiff said he has no expectation Trump will do anything more than ask Putin if he interfered in the U.S. election. 

“There’s no reason to expect this won’t be, frankly, a disastrous approach,” Schiff said. “He’s sitting down with a man who just ordered intervention in our election, and rewarding him for doing so, there’s no way that brings about a successful result.”

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Schiff noted that Trump was briefed on the indictments before leaving for Europe last week, and the president still remarked that he expected his summit with Putin may be “easier” than meetings with U.S. allies.

In the days since the indictment of the 12 Russians, Trump has declined to condemn Putin. Instead, he has cast blame on the Obama administration for failing to take a stronger stance against Russian meddling.

The president has in the past drawn criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for his reluctance to confront Putin. 

“Part of the reason for this indictment is to stigmatize those interfering with our elections,” Schiff said Sunday. “[Putin is] the ringmaster of this conspiracy, and he’s going to be sitting down at the table with Donald Trump, and Donald Trump is basically saying that indictment is a witch hunt. That's a great gift for Putin.” 

“I think if Kim Jong Un can eat the president’s lunch, which I think he clearly did, it will be a very easy matter for Vladimir Putin,” Schiff said, referring to Trump’s meeting last month with the North Korean leader.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE handed down indictments on Friday against 12 Russian intelligence officers, alleging they interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. Mueller charged 11 of the officers with conspiring to hack into the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee networks. 

The other officer was charged with conspiring to hack into election systems, including a state elections board website.

Several Democrats, including Schiff, have called on the White House to cancel the meeting in light of the indictments.

— This report was updated at 10:54 a.m.