Top Intel Dem: No one-on-one Trump meeting with Putin
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Friday that President Trump should not meet one-on-one with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“There should be no one-on-one meeting between this president and Mr. Putin. There needs to be other Americans in the room,” Warner told reporters.
Warner’s comments come after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Warner added that Trump should cancel the meeting if he isn’t willing to make Friday’s indictment a “top priority” for his closed-door sit-down with Putin.
“Secondly, if the president and his team are not willing to make the facts of this indictment a top priority of the meeting in Helsinki then the summit should be canceled,” Warner told reporters.
The indictment comes three days before Trump is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart. The meeting has sparked concerns from top lawmakers, as well as European allies, that Trump could agree to major concessions following his warmer tone toward Moscow since announcing his bid for president.
Pressed on Friday about why he thought the two men shouldn’t meet one-one-on, Warner admitted that he had been concerned for a while that Trump’s “ad hoc style” and “going into meetings and winging it isn’t appropriate.”
“I’m afraid that actually the president could be taken advantage of,” Warner told reporters.
Other Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), have issued a blanket demand that Trump cancel the meeting with Putin.
“Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” Schumer said in a statement.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who announced the indictment, told reporters on Friday that Trump had been briefed on the issue earlier this week.
Trump separately promised on Friday, before Rosenstein’s press conference, that he would “firmly ask the question” about election interference in his meeting with Putin.