Dems request briefing on Trump's private meeting with Putin

Dems request briefing on Trump's private meeting with Putin
© Getty Images

A trio of top Democrats is requesting administration officials brief their committees by noon Thursday on what happened in President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report Amash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Afghanistan, give peace a chance — and a lot of time The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Mystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia MORE, Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke A brief timeline of Trump's clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats Chuck Todd on administration vacancies: 'Is this any way to run a government?' 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 EngelMystery surrounds elusive sanctions on Russia Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Defense: House votes to block Trump arms sales to Saudis, setting up likely veto | US officially kicks Turkey out of F-35 program | Pentagon sending 2,100 more troops to border MORE (D-N.Y.), Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithThe House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort Overnight Defense: Esper officially nominated for Defense secretary | Pentagon silent on Turkey getting Russian missile system | House, Senate headed for clash over defense bill House and Senate head for showdown on must-pass defense bill MORE (D-Wash.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHouse passes annual intelligence bill Judge finds Stone violated gag order, blocks him from using social media The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff MORE (D-Calif.) wrote in the letter.

ADVERTISEMENT

“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.”