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

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

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program 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) Swan MuellerSpeier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' Comey: Mueller 'didn't succeed in his mission because there was inadequate transparency' MORE's latest indictment over the Kremlin's election interference.

Sasse, a sometime critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 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).

ADVERTISEMENT

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.