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Dems request briefing on Trump's private meeting with Putin

Dems request briefing on Trump's private meeting with Putin
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A trio of top Democrats is requesting administration officials brief their committees by noon Thursday on what happened in President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE’s private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence committees on Tuesday made the request in a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoTrump: 'I can't imagine' any Republican would beat me in 2024 primary if I run Green New Deal's 3 billion ton problem: sourcing technology metals US condemns arrests of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong MORE, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisRejoining the Iran nuclear deal would save lives of US troops, diplomats The soft but unmatched power of US foreign exchange programs The GOP senators likely to vote for Trump's conviction MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHow President Biden can hit a home run Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security MORE.

“Democrats and Republicans alike were shocked to watch President Trump publicly side with Russia over its responsibility for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections and directly contradict the Intelligence Community’s assessment,” Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelProgressives target Manchin, Sinema with new PAC State Department sets up new bureau for cybersecurity and emerging technologies How Congress dismissed women's empowerment MORE (D-N.Y.), Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBiden seeks to walk fine line with Syria strike Overnight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display MORE (D-Wash.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House defends not sanctioning Saudi crown prince over Khashoggi What good are the intelligence committees? Biden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in the letter.

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“But we also have profound concerns over what was said privately and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with each of you the national security matters that were discussed, including Russia; its illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea; ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine; ongoing sanctions policy towards Russia; Syria; the U.S. commitment to NATO and Article 5; counterterrorism cooperation; strategic stability and arms control; and China.”

Trump’s summit with Putin in Helsinki last week started with a private meeting in which the only other people in the room were each leader’s interpreter.

Pompeo is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he is expected be grilled about what happened at the summit.

U.S. officials have so far said little on what happened in that meeting. But Moscow has released several statements, including that the leaders agreed on military cooperation in Syria.

Last week, Coats told an audience at the Aspen Security Forum that, “I don't know what happened in that meeting.”

On Tuesday, Mattis said the U.S. military has not changed its stance on Russian forces in Syria.

In their letter, the lawmakers noted that Cabinet officials appear not to have been briefed on the meeting and said Congress must be informed of any potential deals. 

“Since the meeting, Congress has received no notification from the White House or Executive Branch about the topics of the meeting or any purported deals or agreements reached on behalf of the United States,” they wrote. “It also appears that President Trump’s cabinet has not been briefed on the private meeting, and Congress must be made aware of some of the potential deals or agreements that Russia claims were struck.”