Sasse: Putin is neither America's friend nor Trump's buddy

Sasse: Putin is neither America's friend nor Trump's buddy
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Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law There is a bipartisan path forward on election and voter protections Biden: A good coach knows when to change up the team MORE (R-Neb.) on Friday said "all patriotic Americans" should acknowledge the threat posed by Russia in the wake of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's latest indictment over the Kremlin's election interference.

Sasse, a sometime critic of President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE, took a veiled shot at the president's warm overtures toward Russian President Vladimir Putin shortly after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted in the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

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Multiple Democratic lawmakers voiced concerns over Trump's planned meeting with Putin in the wake of Friday's announcement from Mueller.

All 12 of the defendants indicted on Friday are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency. Eleven have been charged with conspiring to hack into networks used by the DNC as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

The 12th defendant is being charged with conspiring to hack into systems used to administer elections. 

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the meeting with Putin should be canceled if Trump isn't willing to make the latest indictments "a top priority." Warner also called for the meeting not to be one-on-one. 

"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. 

Before the announcement Friday, Trump told reporters that he would "firmly" ask Putin about election interference in 2016 during their meeting, though Putin denied Russia's role when he first met Trump face-to-face last year.